John Berryman

‘Bats have no bankers and they do not drink
and cannot be arrested and pay no tax
and, in general, bats have it made.”

“B E R R Y M A N” by Dekklun Cuinn


For R.H. Deutsch

“sic itur ad astra”

The dog that leaves me behind

as a tail (wags)—the chorus girls,

all the great books & the stinking sea—

never notes the azaleas in bloom

nor differentiates the scent of winter from spring.

Life, friends, is boring, is an animal ache
we wish to bury like a bone.

(Henry grows a beard and gets himself

some medals & some grants).

We drink and dance, and dance and drink

our shadow-show as valid as any dog or cat

though accepting none of it as woman or man.

And all the great words of the masters

& all the gin-and-tonics of all the happy pubs

can ever alter that one dull and inevitable fact:

Henry never gonna know the whys nor the wherefores.

—Mr. Bones, no one ever does.

© 2010