A Journal of Contemporary Arts 






In Memory Of Ifeanyi Menkiti

I wrote romantic and dramatic poems,
Uncaring about ordinary life,
Feeling we were hiding in our homes.
Now I fear my death and the death of my wife.

How can we be both anxious and brave?
How can we feel it's safe to stay at home?
How can we store time, how can we save
Money like we save similes for a poem?

Summer blots the city from our windows.
Why does Spring quickly disappear?
Why are there so many widowers and widows?
Why am I writing to dissipate fear

Of death -- I was so close to it
I couldn't catch my breath, intubated in that room,
Trying to write, talk just a little bit
Trying to prevent my sliding to my doom.

Snow piled up on the ledge of my window.
Now I'm on oxygen for half a year.
This recovery is so damn slow.
But I thank God I'm still here.

Every few months another friend has died,
The latest ready to publish an anniversary edition
Of my best known work -- he raised the money, he tried
Fighting a stroke --- we were still full of ambition

But we both were approaching eighty,
Me and Ifeanyi -- impoverished now of years
Ahead, dead now, but not grieving me
Contented with my courage and my fears.

Bless you my readers -- three or four or five
Appreciating meter and alternate rhyme,
My drumming it is wondrous to be alive
Saving, spending parameters of Time.


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