October 16, 2013

David Brendan Hopes

JAMES DICKEY DIED OWING ME A BAR TAB

James Dickey died owing me a seventy dollar bar tab
I picked up for his vivid drunken self
and hammered protégés somewhere in
I forget where goddamn South Carolina.
No house booze for them. Strictly top shelf.

I have alternately gloried in this and
resented it for however many years,
trying to decide whether a brush with fame—
sweating and profane as it was then—was worth
the tribute of a couple of beers.

When I read “The Heaven of Animals,” though,
the nineteenth time, I think it is all right.
I think I should have bought him something
further to take home, something to
comfort through the poem-haunted night.

At the cycles’ center prowl abroad such men.
They fall. They are torn, they rise. They walk again.

from Rattle #39, Spring 2013
Tribute to Southern Poets

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