Readings — From the December 2016 issue

A Man of Limited

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By Cyrus Console, from a manuscript in progress. Console is the author of The Odicy (Omnidawn).

What a day to be overweight

With all one has in the world

On a park bench in a park mostly

Consecrated to the needle

When I was fourteen the poet Cyrus Console

Was my best friend in the world

My stepmother disliked him because he was

Sensitive and decently intelligent

And his father a doctor

All my stepparents disliked him

“Decent” was a word I favored

To indicate moderate quantity

Though I did not realize it at the time

I had certain of my first

Sexual experiences with him

He realized it

His manner betrayed neither pity nor disgust

Just lowering a previous estimate

He was always pointing out things like Italian

Wall lizards or the AH-64 Apache I never

Saw myself because I lacked a name

He taught a bunch of us to smoke weed

I figured he would be a pothead forever

We all did

He taught me to speak in code

We planned to dedicate our lives to following

The jam-rock ensemble called the Grateful Dead

But in August 1995 Jerry Garcia died

A crowd gathered to cry and smoke weed

In Kansas City and we were part of it

Cyrus Console for decades

He would seek out pornographic images

Of unshaven women in loose floral print

You could hear singing through his office door

Robert Hunter was a great lyricist

Though I didn’t realize it at the time

I had the most expensive vodka

And two packs of Marlboro Mediums

I completed the study of law

One time at the firing range spent brass

Landed in the collar of my shirt

Leaving me this scar

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