A woman dies from a scratch she gets
opening a window and within minutes
her children are mine.
Rescuers plunge from the fire
escape as if to prove
it’s the pain behind my face
that enables my eyes.
The truth is there’s no pleasure
in suffering, even by proxy;
the truth is only pleasure is found there
and the most distant grievance
elevates the scenery.
I watch the tidal wave dismantle the village
and the town cryer crashes
from his perch in the airport bar,
one fell swoop, contaminating my Manhattan.
Would more vermouth make my own pain
Or will hurt’s surfeit make a joke
of my history, prop me as an ant
on the rocks under the falls?
An unshaven man sullies his blood,
enslaves his daughter and now no man
comes away clean, and no man
with a mustache is a stranger to me.