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May 24 1980

I have braved for want of wild beasts steel cages
carved my term and nickname on bunks and rafters
lived by the sea flashed aces in an oasis
dined with the-devil-knows-whom in tails on truffles.
From the height of a glacier I beheld half a world the earthly
width. Twice have drowned thrice let knives rake my nitty-gritty.
Quit the country the bore and nursed me.
Those who forgot me would make a city.
I have waded the steppes that saw yelling Huns in saddles
worn the clothes nowadays back in fashion in every quarter
planted rye tarred the roofs of pigsties and stables
guzzled everything save dry water.
I've admitted the sentries' third eye into my wet and foul
dreams. Munched the bread of exile; it's stale and warty.
Granted my lungs all sounds except the howl;
switched to a whisper. Now I am forty.
What should I say about my life? That it's long and abhors transparence.
Broken eggs make me grieve; the omelette though makes me vomit.
Yet until brown clay has been rammed down my larynx
only gratitude will be gushing from it.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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