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a poem by Jon Wesick (1 of 2)

Damage (for Richard Yates*)

Sing the reality of failure!
The forgotten millions who wager hope
at the tilted roulette wheel of the American dream.
Sing a fallen bust of FDR, its nose
smashed like your mother's ambition.
Sing of frantic need in olive-drab pants,
the impossibility of love, and a loser
laying banknotes of dreams
on the nine-to-five counter of mediocrity
while his wife grows shackles in her womb.

Your life was not wasted. Not the straightjackets.
Nor the impotent days in a plaid bathrobe.
Not the roach-infested hours at a typewriter
in a dank apartment. Nor the bloody handkerchiefs,
four packs a day, and gasps at the top of the stairs.
Your Chernobyl psyche powered
a spotlight of honesty to immortality.

© by Jon Wesick

* Richard Yates: author of the 1961 novel Revolutionary Road.
Gutter Eloquence Magazine ~ Issue #22 ~ July 2012    next poem