Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

16 March 2010

More Tony Hoagland

This is from What Narcissism Means to Me. It is entitled "Man Carrying Sofa":

Whatever happened to Cindy Morrison, that nice young lesbian?
I heard she moved to the city and got serious.
Traded in her work boots for high heels and a power suit.
Got a health-care plan and an attorney girlfriend.

Myself, I don't want to change.
It's January and I'm still dating my checks November.
I don't want to step through the doorway of the year.
I'm afraid of something falling off behind me.
I'm afraid my own past will start forgetting me.

Now the sunsets are like cranberry sauce
poured over the yellow hills, and yes,
that beauty is so strong it hurts—
it hurts because it isn't personal.


But we look anyway, we sit on our stoops
and stare,—fierce,
like we were tossing down a shot of vodka, straight,
and afterwards, we feel purified and sad and rather Russian.

When David was in town last week,
I made a big show to him of how unhappy I was
because I wanted him to go back and tell Susan
that I was suffering without her—

but then he left and I discovered
I really was miserable
—which made me feel better about myself—
because, after all, I don't want to go through time untouched.

What a great journey this is,
this ordinary life of ants and sandwich wrappers,
of X-rated sunsets and drive-through funerals.

And this particular complex pain inside your chest;
this damaged longing
like a heavy piece of furniture inside you;
you carry it, it burdens you, it drags you down—
then you stop, and rest on top of it.