Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Hackett Avenue


I used to like connections:
Leaves floating on the water
Like faces floating on the surface of a dream,
On the surface of a swimming pool
Once the holocaust was complete.
And then I passed through stages of belief
And unbelief, desire and restraint.
I found myself repeating certain themes
Ad interim, until they began to seem quaint
And I began to feel myself a victim of coincidence,
Inhabiting a film whose real title was my name --
Inhabiting a realm of fabulous constructions
Made entirely of words, all words
I should have known, and should have connected
Until they meant whatever I might mean.
But they're just fragments really,
No more than that.


                 A coast away,
And then across an ocean fifty years away,
I felt an ashen figure gliding through the leaves
-- Bewitchment of intelligence by leaves -- 
A body floating clothed, facedown,
A not-so-old philosopher dying in his bed
-- At least I thought I felt those things.
But then the line went dead
And I was back here in the cave, another ghost
Inhabiting the fourth part of the soul
And waiting, and still waiting, for the sun to come up.
Tell them I've had a wonderful life.
Tell Mr. DeMille I'm ready for my close-up.

Credit


From North Point North by John Koethe. Copyright © 2003 by John Koethe. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved.

Author


John Koethe

Born in 1945, John Koethe is the author of several collections of poetry, including Falling Water, which won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.

Date Published: 2003-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/hackett-avenue