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Joan E. Bauer: Flash

We must travel in the direction of our fear.

                                                -John Berryman


Eileen Simpson begins with his photo:

clean-shaven, ascetic, but an impish grin.

He’s holding a pipe. Dark suit, bow tie.

How she must have studied that photo.

As they strolled New York City streets, he’d jaywalk.

He was good at dodging cars.

She’d watch him

correct papers in his red leather chair. They’d dine

with Delmore Schwartz who played her Bessie Smith

on the gramophone. When they married, living

in a tiny apartment—lined with books—

they were happy & slim enough to fit in the single bed.


Years later, she read about his death in Minneapolis.

She hoped it wasn’t suicide.

Different photograph:

ragged beard, empty eyes. His students remember

how he said: jokes in the ‘Dream Songs’

relieve the tension.

He had that odd way of speaking,

accent on the second syllable of poet—

Born in Oklahoma, but he didn’t stay long.

Copyright 2016 Joan E. Bauer. First published in Presa. Reprinted by permission of the author.

John Berryman and Eileen Simpson

One comment on “Joan E. Bauer: Flash

  1. anisioluiz2008
    October 10, 2016

    Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.


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This entry was posted on October 10, 2016 by in Poetry and tagged , , , .

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