Cocktail Party

(Now) I'm the one running this show.
This angel's alive and the transparent, slow
breezes of ancestors breathe on the walls
politely stay out of the way.
They think they've got something important to say.
They'd like to help me untie the knotted threads
that they left me to hang by. Of course
they've come back well-dressed and wouldn't be caught
even dead, without a drink in their long-fingered hands.
The women come and go and talk of the sins of the fathers,
and, God, by now they know that the drown of the bottle,
the surround of a man, no matter how good, will leave you
but a well-bred ghost with a still-wicked thirst for the world.
Eliot slips into this cocktail party as I'm wailing
"The Waste Land" to wake up the neighbors.
My pronunciation is so appalling that he's come
to play the "third who walks beside" me. He says,
"April is the cruelest month." I say the year-end
is the meanest, when the holidays show their teeth
and stumble in these spirits. Maybe they think I'll
send a prayer to save their lazy souls, but I'd need
a bouquet of rosaries just to get started on my own.
Women come and go and talk of the sins of the fathers,
God, by now they know that the drown of the bottle,
the surround of a man, no matter how good, will leave you
but a well-bred ghost with a still-wicked thirst for the world.

©1994 Agent Gracie Music (BMI) and McKinley


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