American Muse: Kenneth Fearing


“Love 20 cents the First Quarter Mile”

All right. I may have lied to you and about you, and made a 

few pronouncements a bit too sweeping, perhaps, and 

possibly forgotten to tag the bases here or there,

And damned your extravagance, and maligned your tastes, 

and libeled your relatives, and slandered a few of your

friends, O. K.

Nevertheless, come back.

Come home. I will agree to forget the statements that you 

issued so copiously to the neighbors and the press,

And you will forget that figment of your imagination,
blonde from Detroit;

I will agree that your lady friend who lives above us is not 

crazy, bats, nutty as they come, but on the contrary rather 

And you will concede that poor old Steinberg is neither a 

drunk, nor a swindler, but simply a guy, on the eccentric 

side, trying to get along.

(Are you listening, you bitch, and have you got this straight?)

Because I forgive you, yes, for everything. I forgive you for 

being beautiful and generous and wise,

I forgive you, to put it simply, for being alive, and pardon

you, in short, for being you.

Because tonight you are in my hair and eyes,

And every street light that our taxi passes shows me you 

again, still you,

And because tonight all other nights are black, all other hours 

are cold and far away, and now, this minute, the stars are 

very near and bright.

Come back. We will have a celebration to end all celebrations.

We will invite the undertaker who lives beneath us, and a 

couple of boys from the office, and some other friends.

And Steinberg, who is off the wagon, and that 

insane woman who lives upstairs, and a few reporters,
anything should break.

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