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 - 1953-2018
Prolonged exposure to death Has made my friend quieter. Now his nose is less like a hatchet And more like a snuffler. Flames don't erupt from his mouth anymore And life doesn't crack his thermometer. Instead of overthrowing the government He reads fly-fishing catalogues And takes photographs of water. An aphorist would say The horns of the steer have grown straighter. He has an older heart that beats younger. His Attila the Hun imitation Is not as good as it used to be. Everything else is better.