Poem Nobody Wants

I originally wrote this poem for my grandfather, not pictured below (the one picture we have from him in the Toledo Blade needs to be scanned in), who played in Toledo then college. A strong lefty who had a lot of promise, my grandfather’s injury seemed to end him.

This poem probably scares people away at the beginning, but I love the sound, rhythm, and subtext, but the 2nd and 3rd stanzas are more narrative and, I think, capture something only poetry can capture.

Dreamers Are Gluttons

There is a place for us,

the bedraggled, befuddled, joyless creatures

anemic with the hepatic urge to take on dreams

before bodies blush with cold

and slowly dissolve into the blue

themselves.  We turn the note

of tongue’s sugar into a glazed whisper

coat the ears of our dying

with a verveless, inebriated language none

understand.  I’m not ashamed to say it, the man

in the picture was beautiful: dark eyes, wavy hair, loose

uniform on a solid frame, ramiform fingers

knuckling the ball,

cocksure and confident

that he had it, the it most men fear

never quite grasping – that sense of purpose – but,

that was before the Yankees sent him to college, before

the shoulder let loose of itself,

before the dock accident, before

his son could hide his disappointment.

Now it’s Pal Malls window-side,

one eye on the threshold spying for the orderly,

slow on order

and slower on denying the dying anything,

the other eye on the night sky

looking for the rumor of his glorious past

which is like smelling ghost-shit in a hospital bed.

Darkness to light, hand to mouth, the simple motion

sustains him as he daydreams of the game, the cold

beer, the surfeit of admiration

a son offers a father for the perfect

strike, perfect meal, perfect piggy back.

Defining sadness with synonyms

is the cruelest thing we have ever done.

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By Chad Rohrbacher

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