Credit cards out, pencil and notepad handy,
The insomniac sinks deeply in his chair,
Begging swift needles in his glass of brandy
To knit once more the raveled sleeve of care,
As with control, remotely, in one hand he
Summons bright visions from the midnight air:
The six-way drill! The eight-way folding ladder!
Knives that pierce coins or thin-slice loaves of
Devices that will make one's tummy flatter,
Rout car thieves, or purge household taps of lead!
All made of stuff no earthly force can shatter!
Their lauds ascend Olympus in his head.
And yet how little will his days be brightened
By Opera Favorites or, if he feels lewd,
Even THE SWIMSUIT ISSUE. Briefly
His hopes, ephemeral as stir-fried food,
Vanish like screws his six-way drill has tightened,
Leaving him just like them—completely screwed.
"Buy houses and apartments with no money!
Discover how today! Write this address!"
Snapping alert and clicking with his gun, he
Draws a bead on the forehead of Success,
Whose orchid leis are fresh, whose teeth are sunny,
Whose tapes are on the way via UPS.
But anger, with succeeding snifters, passes
And soon all softens in an amber hue;
As through a pair of UV/blue-block glasses,
Doubt fades before the testimony—true
Accounts of hair sprouting like jungle grasses!
Of lifeless penises lifting anew!
Of bags and wrinkles blotted out! Of dumber
Than average kids who, spared the wrath and rod,
Have learned to multiply! He fights off slumber
The moment that his head begins to nod
And resolutely punches the first number
Of what may be the area code of God.
From No Word of Farewell: Poems 1970-2000,
Press, (c) 2001. Used by permission of the