as a Strategy
What fresh paths for us, what world all before us once again—
beyond these books and arguments that so engage us?
The cigarette in the movie tastes better than the four I smoked
What charades the charades expose!
What protocols the protocols require!
Drugs did my growing up for me, some.
It was a farce, though, like my baptism,
I blacked out first in a stadium.
The face of ecstasy is always aging.
Inhibitions disappear in rum;
every accident’s a chameleon—
but I’ll never see anything scarier.
The sandman comes on thermals
out of the West,
abandoning all proposals.
It isn’t funny how the past
creeps into my every dinner,
when others seem
to seize the day forever.
The stigma is off
and failure’s a strategy now.
The Arab world is a convenient Western myth—
and so is the Western myth, and the Western world.
Barbara Walters said the other night—
“The porch is an integrating metaphor
for those who were in Vietnam.”
“Because they all sat there,” she said, and signed
The idea that we gain knowledge through trial
is no more plausible than the idea
that we gain it through error.
Salmon steaks have tree rings
and my goat-cheese tea
was picked from a horse’s hoof.
How can you be honest
when you’re bound to succeed?
“Virtue is its own reward”:
whoever said that
knew what self-esteem was,
and how intolerable it is.
The fucking Greeks, the fucking Romans.
I won blue ribbons, but they were red.
The white were green and all the rest.
I have the nightmare of the test
I stumble down the hall and fail:
I live my life for second-best.