Sometimes I get all nostalgic and sentimental and possibly lame, laying in my underwear for hours, listening to, not watching, the NBA playoffs, looking at the nail on the wall that used to hold a picture I liked a lot, but I CAN'T DO THAT GET UP IT'S NATIONAL POETRY MONTH. And Tony Hoagland teaches us how to get up, how to be sentimental, how to look back, how to handle it.
By Tony Hoagland
Sometimes I wish I were still out
on the back porch, drinking jet fuel
with the boys, getting louder and louder
as the empty cans drop out of our paws
like booster rockets falling back to Earth
and we soar up into the summer stars.
Summer. The big sky river rushes overhead,
bearing asteroids and mist, blind fish
and old space suits with skeletons inside.
On Earth, men celebrate their hairiness,
and it is good, a way of letting life
out of the box, uncapping the bottle
to let the effervescence gush
through the narrow, usually constricted neck.
And now the crickets plug in their appliances
in unison, and then the fireflies flash
dots and dashes in the grass, like punctuation
for the labyrinthine, untrue tales of sex
someone is telling in the dark, though
no one really hears. We gaze into the night
as if remembering the bright unbroken planet
we once came from,
to which we will never
be permitted to return.
We are amazed how hurt we are.
We would give anything for what we have.
Tony Hoagland, “Jet” from Donkey Gospel. Copyright © 1998 by Tony Hoagland.