I went out last night to kill myself
and as usual got drunk instead.
The men and women in the bars
across the river were drunk
enough to conduct conversations
on subjects New Englanders avoid
I figured I was drunk enough to die.
For months I had read Camus,
alone in the large house downstairs
while Cathleen lived in Springfield
on R & R from her war with me,
her impossible task
of returning me to sanity,
but she had the luck others didn’t.
Or did she . . . Was it luck?
On my birthday, New Year’s Eve,
to celebrate my sobriety,
she invited friends for a party
and I stoked the fireplace,
adding wood along the way
across the river
after Rainbow drove Adam home
and Dave and Chris were kind
as always, and I’ve forgotten
who else was there, though I knew
who was at the door
when it opened.
Now it closed and Cathleen may
have gone looking for me,
checking all the bars in Amherst,
but I was in Northampton
at the bar where the mirror is
Bob Dylan dug, holding court
on the poet’s life,
like now. Dark falls.
I get off the stool. I remember
everything. It’s all banal.
* Acute accents appear over the two “e”s in “revolte.” The poem’s title is my translation.
(7 November 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander