Can't swim; uses credit cards and pills to combat intolerable feelings of inadequacy; Won't admit his dread of boredom, chief impulse behind numerous marital infidelities; Looks fat in jeans, mouths clichés with confidence, breaks mother's plates in fights; Buys when the market is too high, and panics during the inevitable descent; Still, Pop can always tell the subtle difference between Pepsi and Coke, Has defined the darkness of red at dawn, memorized the splash of poppies along Deserted railway tracks, and opposed the war in Vietnam months before the students, Years before the politicians and press; give him a minute with a road map And he will solve the mystery of bloodshot eyes; transport him to mountaintop And watch him calculate the heaviness and height of the local heavens; Needs no prompting to give money to his kids; speaks French fluently, and tourist German; Sings Schubert in the shower; plays pinball in Paris; knows the new maid steals, and forgives her.
David Lehman - 1948-
He wrote the whole novel in his head, Sentence by sentence. It took him all day. Then he took out a wide-ruled yellow legal pad With three pink vertical lines marking the left margin, And from his breast pocket he extracted A disposable plastic fountain pen, And near the top of the page he wrote the word ODE In black ink, all caps. For a few minutes he did nothing. Then he skipped three lines and wrote, "It was the greatest birthday present he had ever received: The manual Smith-Corona typewriter His parents gave him on the day he graduated from high school After they took him to the Statler Hilton for lunch, Where they had cold poached salmon, his father's favorite."