Day of the Dead

Halloween, All Souls Eve, Day of the Dead, lead me to Malcolm Lowry and his stunning novel Under the Volcano. This is a Vicipedia entry in waiting. Meanwhile two poems from “Conversations with George” a sequence in Music for Men over Fifty, about my 1947 hard cover edition. 


I’m sorry, Malcolm. I left you
in the dim light of a Winnipeg bar

looking for the beauty
you said I would see if I drink

as you do, and I do
Malcom,  see your beauty –

 Under the Volcano, towering above
the shabby Dollartown pier. I don’t remember

where I left you, or how much I tipped the waitress
who never ran after me, leaving your book

on the counter with my anti-depressant
slipped inside.



So I stop at the smoke shop to buy a cigar underground
after my conversation with George laying down my hardbound

Sourland. Joyce Carol Oates a guilty pleasure, part of my secret
life like my conversations with George or with women

telling them they are beautiful, and they are, but unlikely
my dear wife would understand. She knows

there is not an unfaithful bone in my body. She does not know
I lost Malcolm in what I thought was the bar. So I can not

tell her that the clerk, noticing my book asked if I liked to read.
“ Why yes,” I said “I read a lot.”  He rummages under the cash register

and drops my 1947 Reynalds Hitchock Under The Volcano on Sourland,
and asks “You know this book?” “Yes,” I say, “it’s mine.”

He and Malcolm waiting to make a counter offer. I accept, leaving
an extra ten bucks for this year’s Day of the Dead, holding on

tight to the escalator railing, steel tongued steps
moving me and Malcolm to the light.

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