Passages: Three Dead Men In A Drunken Boat

Robert Lowell and Hank William dance with Field Commander Cohen

A bad black and white movie, this dying
in the back bench seat
of a yellow New York taxi cab.
Robert Trail Spence Lowell

without the heart for the trip
home, tips his head on his hoary chest,
frees his depressed nuerons to collide
with those of Hank Williams

going the same way, to a gig,
and mournfully scribbling
on the back of a tobacco pack.

Hank offers the dancing bear
a swig of whiskey. Bob still swings
but with only lithium
to set the rhythm of his operatic
rant, he declines and declines.

The Zen simplicity and clarity
of a Hank Williams lyric, his only remaining desire,
proclaims Field Commander Cohen, unashamed,
is to write the same.

The cab and driver stall beside the dark river, unused
to Zen cowboys waltzing in famous
blue raincoats, who have come
so far, and have come for nothing at all.




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