After Mark Strand
I give up my place in line, that early unmarked grave.
I give up my attitude. Here, take it. Come on, it's yours.
Whatsamatter, you don't want it? Not so big now, hey?
Yeah, I give up my parking tickets. I roll them up in a big
cardboard ball and throw them in the East River.
I give up my socks, they have holes in them anyway.
I give up my hair, little by little, year by year.
I give up my barber, his jokes suck.
I give up ketchup, or cat soup, that blue collar
condiment. I give it up reluctantly, I give it up
as a sacrament. I give up spreading it on french fries,
those deadly, crispy snakes. I give up oil and salt.
I give up the ocean, that gray-green roar, that scent
of decay breeding life. I give up sand and merry-go-rounds.
I give up baseball, that dead horsehide game. It crawls
across my t.v. I give up instant replay
of pitches that catch the inside corner, I give up
the sound of a foul tip, the ball smacking the catcher's glove.
I give up chalk. I give up the sound it makes
on the blackboard, the white residue on my hands.
I give up its alkaline smell.
I give up the detritus on my desk. With the back
of my arm I sweep it all onto the floor. And I give up
the floor and the dead rat rug lying there like a bad hairpiece.
I give up rock 'n' roll, I give up Vivaldi, that cagey Jesuit,
I give up my pickup truck. I give up Paris and London
and Rome. I give up New York, my home, my home.
I give up the E train, I give up Washington Square,
I give up Columbia. I have crossed the Hudson, my
Rubicon. I give up bagels and blintzes and diphthongs
and the "ng" click, which means I give up Lawn-gi-land,
which means I give up streets, which means I give up,
I give up. Which means I'll always be camping out.
If you have anything to say about his poem, Steve Klepetar would be pleased to hear from you.