Give Up

After Mark Strand

I give up my place in line, that early unmarked grave.
I give up my attitude.  Here, take it.  Come on, it's yours.
Whatsamatter, you don't want it?  Not so big now, hey?
Yeah, I give up my parking tickets.  I roll them up in a big
cardboard ball and throw them in the East River.
I give up my socks, they have holes in them anyway.
I give up my hair, little by little, year by year.
I give up my barber, his jokes suck.
I give up ketchup, or cat soup, that blue collar
condiment.  I give it up reluctantly, I give it up
as a sacrament.  I give up spreading it on french fries,
those deadly, crispy snakes.  I give up oil and salt.
I give up the ocean, that gray-green roar, that scent
of decay breeding life.  I give up sand and merry-go-rounds.
I give up baseball, that dead horsehide game.  It crawls
across my t.v.  I give up instant replay
of pitches that catch the inside corner, I give up
the sound  of a foul tip, the ball smacking the catcher's glove.
I give up chalk.  I give up the sound it makes
on the blackboard, the white residue on my hands.
I give up its alkaline smell.
I give up the detritus on my desk.  With the back
of my arm I sweep it all onto the floor.  And I give up
the floor and the dead rat rug lying there like a bad hairpiece.
I give up rock 'n' roll, I give up Vivaldi, that cagey Jesuit,
I give up my pickup truck.  I give up Paris and London
and Rome.  I give up New York, my home, my home.
I give up the E train, I give up Washington Square,
I give up Columbia.  I have crossed the Hudson, my
Rubicon.  I give up bagels and blintzes and diphthongs
and the "ng" click, which means I give up Lawn-gi-land,
which means I give up streets, which means I give up,
I give up.  Which means I'll always be camping out.

Steve Klepetar

 If you have anything to say about his poem, Steve Klepetar would be pleased to hear from you.

Snakeskin logo