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John Fenlon Hogan 





With the Detachment that Characterizes the Fanatic 





All my life, I’ve felt I was meant to say All my life,

and then what came after, though vague


as a childhood memory misplaced, would be

somehow fated, a Godfall of the sublime,


as though experience were less important

for its own sake, but rather to be endured


and collected like sawdust from the grain

of good wood until nostalgia for what


I’ve never known but always wanted

reached its tipping point, and then I would


accomplish my imagination. But here I am

by the water cooler, a colleague wishing me


Happy Friday! Whereas before my gut revulsion

was to feel the weight of all 52, each as likely


to go wrong as any other day, I’m somehow

softer now. Gone are the days of banging


my head against the visceral concrete, chasing

a meaning of life that wouldn’t satisfy me


even if it were permitted to make itself apparent.

So I smile and nod and respond in kind,


and think of Monday nights in Del Ray

fasting through Mass, of your hand in mine.


All my life, I thought this life would never

be enough, and so I sought to rough it up


with all the voice and attitude I could muster,

never tuning my ear to the voice that would


redeem me. Now I hear the sound of enough

fleeing from me like a class of rowdy third graders.


I see your eyes cutting through the horizon

on the back of a speed boat on a lake


in Maine. I feel the bite of Minnesota

winters I’ll never feel when you go home


to see your mother. And so I salvage

what there is to salvage, which is the sound


of nothing, which I must now fashion

into enough. Talk my ear off I whisper to it.


I beg of it Talk my ear into the ground.









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