Today's poem is by Albert Goldbarth

An Explanation

I wanted to say
                        that everything was difficult, the moon was required
to crawl first with its elbows then its knees
across the sill of the window before it could enter my room
and, when it did, when it stood there releasing its light
like any two-cent break-and-enterer's sweep across the objects
there, creating them like stupid startled sheep from out
of darkness, when that happened and I saw how insufficient were
my days and nights and bricabrac, then the taste of regret
infused my tongue—a sour taste, a small toy taste,
it can't stand like a huge stone Babylonian
temple griffin in the pride of honest bitterness—and I understood
the words "forlorn" and "desolate," and thus became a wick
up which—for misery loves company—the sorrows
of the greater world deployed their best examples, sorrows
sometimes so more vast than mine—the woman
whose child was born without a brain
inside the saltwater smear of its cranium—that anything,
a sudden drop in temperature of five degrees, a cat that keens
for hours from some mystery distress, could send me
spinning toward the edge of an unmanly weeping, and so
I required an antidote, I knew that as instinctively as dogs
know when to swallow grass and thus encourage vomiting,
and I got in the car, this car, this fast American
panacea, out to where the empty outskirts-driving
gives a sacred feeling of forever to the road, and there, the more I took
on speed, the more the speed took me, the more I was
a supersonic ripple on the surface of the dopamine
and the serotonin sugaring the night, and by the time I switched
the radio to oldies rock at sound that matched the speed
—that double-whammy formulation of an irresistible,
irrepressible (and, quite frankly, irresponsible) middle-brow transcendence—
I was howling, I was rabbinically werewolf howling
to the mileage and its partner-in-crime-and-holiness,
the bass-line beat, and I was born to run, and I was born to be wild,
bad to the bone, and born free (free as the wind blows), I was unashamedly
boomer, I was rocketing the stars and davening gloriously
at the Wailing Wall of the hungry heart, my marrow
was a queen bee's royal jelly of delight, and I was speeding,
I was erasing the planet's grief, I was a wave of plasma physics,
I was the dark gleam on the pungent roe in a slit in a fish
going back to the Paleozoic, I was speeding, and I had no destination,
forward impetus was itself the destination, I was unrepentantly
speeding, I was surely exoneratably speeding,
            That's what I wanted to say.

Copyright © 2008 Albert Goldbarth All rights reserved
from New Letters
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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