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man in the sun
she reads to me from the New Yorker
which I don't buy, don't know 
how they get in here, but it's 
something about the Mafia 
one of the heads of the Mafia 
who ate too much and had it too easy 
too many fine women patting his 
walnuts, and he got fat sucking at good 
cigars and young breasts and he 
has these heart attacks - and so 
one day somebody is driving him 
in his big car along the road 
and he doesn't feel so good 
and he asks the boy to stop and let 
him out and the boy lays him out 
along the road in the fine sunshine 
and before he dies he says: 
how beautiful life can be, and 
then he's gone. 

sometimes you've got to kill 4 or 5 
thousand men before you somehow 
get to believe that the sparrow 
is immortal, money is piss and 
that you have been wasting 
your time.


From Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame
Selected poems 1955 - 1973
Black Sparrow Press, 1986.
First published in:
Crucifix in a Deathhand, 1965.