a poet died

last week, an old poet
named Herschel
(aged 79)
died in our town
he was
a man who’d faced
mighty demons
and
3 vindictive lovers
and at least 9
unforgiving employers
and no less than 23
relentless creditors
not to mention
long nights
“alone”
(for nearly 17 years)
at a bar called
the Timberline
surrounded by serious fans
who gathered nightly
to hear him read
his latest
cocktail napkin
concoction
and to applaud
his readings
and to tell him
that his words
had moved them

FAR

more than
Deepak Chopra
or the Dali Lama
…words
that must be surely
bottled and sold
shaken and stirred
and strained gently
over crushed ice
and blended
so very carefully
until their consistency
is consistent
with Kentucky bourbon…

…fine words…
…words that give comfort
to the fucked up needy
when the night
presses in hard
and the corporate benefits
are extinguished
and the wife has vanished
and the old friend
the last one that
you had on earth
is buried
and the dog is lost
and the boat has sunk
and the Visa card has
been cancelled,
the electricity cut off
and the property
condemned…

You think of him then
on a cold night
Herschel…
…damned old poet
you envy him
on his last night on earth
he just waved at the stars
and walked away

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