WAYS IN, WAYS OUT
Hemingway’s looking down the
twin-barrel of the shotgun
into a blue metallic void.
Hart Crane has one foot on deck,
the other over the rail,
his eye on the ship’s boiling wake below.
Sylvia Plath’s on her knees in the kitchen
with her head in the oven,
wondering if she paid the gas bill or not.
Richard Brautigan’s up in Bolinas
with a Saturday-night-special
nudged snugly in his graying temple.
Paul Celan looks down and sees
one last despondent metaphor
in the swirling waters of the Seine.
Lew Welch loads his 30-30 rifle,
heads up into the California hills,
unsure about when he’ll be coming back.
The ways in merge with the ways out,
life’s complexity compounds daily,
and no one’s getting any writing done today.
—from Rattle #16, Winter 2001