Nights

Harvey Shapiro

Drunk and weeping. It’s another night
at the live-in opera, and I figure
it’s going to turn out badly for me.
The dead next door accept their salutations,
their salted notes, the drawn-out wailing.
It’s we the living who must run for cover,
meaning me. Mortality’s the ABC of it,
and after that comes lechery and lying.
And, oh, how to piece together a life
from this scandal and confusion, as if
the gods were inhabiting us or cohabiting
with us, just for the music’s sake.

Harvey Shapiro, "Nights," from The Sights Along the Harbor, © 2006 by Harvey Shapiro. Used by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Harvey Shapiro, "Nights," from The Sights Along the Harbor, © 2006 by Harvey Shapiro. Used by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Harvey Shapiro

Harvey Shapiro

by this poet

poem

1. Caught on a side street in heavy traffic, I said to the cabbie, I should have walked. He replied, I should have been a doctor. 2. When can I get on the 11:33 I ask the guy in the information booth at the Atlantic Avenue Station. When they open the doors, he says. I am home among my people.