“Toad Dies and Goes to Heaven” by Clint Margrave

Clint Margrave


in memory of Gerald Locklin (1941–2021)

Nobody is more surprised than he is.
First of all, Toad doesn’t believe in heaven,
and secondly, even if he did,
he never expected to visit.

In fact, he’s minorly disappointed.
Has he failed to achieve the properly
debauched life he so often courted?

But the food tastes good.
And you can drink all the frothy beer you want
and never have to go the bathroom.

The salads are made just the way he likes them too,
with lots of crunchy iceberg lettuce
and a good Roquefort dressing.
(But who is he kidding?
Nobody eats salads here.)

At least there aren’t any white clouds,
or saints with haloes,
just a dive bar with a few pretty angels.

They even have a poetry night!

And though the audience is dead
and the open mic literally goes on forever,
this time it isn’t annoying,
but filled with names like Dante and Homer
and Shakespeare and Szymborska …

“Hello Toad,” says his old pal Bukowski,
who approaches the bar and pulls up a stool.
“Good to see you again, Hank,” says Toad,
as they clink their glasses and take a drink,
not to their health, but ours.

from Poets Respond
January 24, 2021


Clint Margrave: “Many in the Southern California poetry community and across the country are mourning the loss of legendary Long Beach poet Gerald Locklin, who died of Covid last weekend. He was a mentor, colleague, and personal friend of mine. He was a kind and generous man and teacher, who inspired and encouraged thousands of young poets. He will be greatly missed but not forgotten. The character ‘Toad’ is a nod to the alter-ego Gerry often used in his own poems.” (web)

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