No, none of that ruckus should step past the doormat.
I’m tired, I’m sleeping: so keep the driveway clear!
No, don’t twist my words so: no, I never said that.
Let everyone know who lives here, who lives here.

The aching on one side, on Sundays especially,
The dull tugging stomach-knots following ecstasy,
The clear autumn sky, saying, “Here is your way out,”
All offer a mirror: so put them away now!

Yes, I am an expert: though words are just alright,
Speak up with your fists, O you who abhor me!
Who wills it, who wants it: let him be my guest tonight!
Past crooked frames, peeling paint, let him step towards me!

In soreness like after when he and his love first danced
As mythical creatures that peopled his backyard pranced
He’d toss to a turn and murmur and mutter,
Wake up from his nap time and enter another.

His sword was a shapely, magnificent specimen
Not forged by Hephaestus but faultiest chancing
That had in its best days beheaded some better men
Efficiently, modernly, without romancing.

But those were all younger days: then it sat idly
‘Til when it swung slowly, always justifiably,
And chopped up a carrot, or made the trees logs,
Or subdued a eunuch and finished the job.

On asphalt he ventured as faulty as verses
Or barren as bodies that starve their own muscles.
His errant companions would mutter him curses;
He listened instead to the yellow leaves rustle.

At present it was an unbearable burden
To drag through his day’s work what no longer served him,
And cradle it carefully, polish it well,
And ask himself: when do we all go to heaven?

But sometimes a rushing wind rose from the Hudson
And hushing the sounds of the street overhead
Made mincemeat of all of his hopes of a pardon
And battered his body until he was—still alive!

On one night it lifted him out of his context:
He glimpsed the horizon, the stars, and the fairer sex.
That was but a moment: he never told anyone.

So in a last effort to wear out his tires
He drove in a circle for hundreds of miles
And sent east his heartache to follow the rising sun.

No, no one is worthy—and least he!—to end it.
The wind carries on, just as no one intended,
And disturbs forgetful sleep.

— Henry Montchamp got born in New York City.

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