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


A Quick One Before I Go

There comes a time in every man's life 
when he thinks: I have never had a single 
original thought in my life 
including this one & therefore I shall 
eliminate all ideas from my poems 
which shall consist of cats, rice, rain 
baseball cards, fire escapes, hanging plants 
red brick houses where I shall give up booze 
and organized religion even if it means 
despair is a logical possibility that can't 
be disproved I shall concentrate on the five 
senses and what they half perceive and half 
create, the green street signs with white 
letters on them the body next to mine 
asleep while I think these thoughts 
that I want to eliminate like nostalgia
0 was there ever a man who felt as I do 
like a pronoun out of step with all the other 
floating signifiers no things but in words 
an orange T-shirt a lime green awning

Credit


Reprinted from The Evening Sun with the permission of Scribner. Copyright © 2002 by David Lehman. First appeared in Boston Review. All rights reserved.

Author


David Lehman

David Lehman is the author of several collections of poems and books of criticism and is also known as a prominent editor, teacher, and literary critic.

Date Published: 2002-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/quick-one-i-go