Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Beyond Hammonton

Longing (Tuscany, 2009. M.A. Reilly)

Beyond Hammonton

Night is longing, longing, longing,
beyond all endurance. 
—Henry Miller 
The back roads I’ve traveled late   
at night, alone, a little drunk,   
wishing I were someone
on whom nothing is lost,

are the roads by day I take
to the car wash in Hammonton   
or to Blue Anchor’s
lawnmower repair shop
when the self-propel mechanism goes.

Fascinating how the lamplight   
that’s beckoned
from solitary windows
gives way to white shutters
and occasionally a woman
in her yard, bending over
something conspicuously in bloom.

So much then is duty, duty, duty,   
and so much
with the sun visor tilted
and destination known
can be endured.

But at night . . . no, even at night   
so much can be endured.

I’ve known only one man   
who left the road,
followed an intriguing light   
to its source.
He told me
that he knocked many times   
before it became clear to him   
he must break down the door.
Stephen Dunn, “Beyond Hammonton” New and Selected Poems (1974-1994). Copyright © 1994 by Stephen Dunn

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