John Fenlon Hogan
With the Detachment that Characterizes the Fanatic
All my life, I’ve felt I was meant to say All my life,
and then what came after, though vague
as a childhood memory misplaced, would be
somehow fated, a Godfall of the sublime,
as though experience were less important
for its own sake, but rather to be endured
and collected like sawdust from the grain
of good wood until nostalgia for what
I’ve never known but always wanted
reached its tipping point, and then I would
accomplish my imagination. But here I am
by the water cooler, a colleague wishing me
Happy Friday! Whereas before my gut revulsion
was to feel the weight of all 52, each as likely
to go wrong as any other day, I’m somehow
softer now. Gone are the days of banging
my head against the visceral concrete, chasing
a meaning of life that wouldn’t satisfy me
even if it were permitted to make itself apparent.
So I smile and nod and respond in kind,
and think of Monday nights in Del Ray
fasting through Mass, of your hand in mine.
All my life, I thought this life would never
be enough, and so I sought to rough it up
with all the voice and attitude I could muster,
never tuning my ear to the voice that would
redeem me. Now I hear the sound of enough
fleeing from me like a class of rowdy third graders.
I see your eyes cutting through the horizon
on the back of a speed boat on a lake
in Maine. I feel the bite of Minnesota
winters I’ll never feel when you go home
to see your mother. And so I salvage
what there is to salvage, which is the sound
of nothing, which I must now fashion
into enough. Talk my ear off I whisper to it.
I beg of it Talk my ear into the ground.