After Going to a Reading, the First in Years

 I confess, I don't know
 what poetry's for.  If I'd hung in
 for just a quarter-century
 more, it could've been
 me instead of him
 introducing the academic darlings
 in the tavern, men of my own
 vintage, greying yet still robust,
 trading chummy entendres to sincere applause
 before venturing nothing
 larger than a library, deeper
 than private grief, more pointed
 than wit, pledged
 in human time,
 except a bit of Cavafy between sets
 to remind us no barbarians at the gate,
 the collapse our own, to the same
 sincere applause.


14 May 86

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