The last time
I enter this room,
pushing past the
clothing and the
furniture into the
landscape of this room, where there is a bed,
where there is a rug, a wall, a window, two doors,
a floor, and a telephone,
the last time I enter this room to take you,
to wake you up into my abrupt life,
gnawing, spitting, cursing,
partaking of my gruesome sport,
wallowing in abstract emotion,
deciding meaningless decisions,
I’ll make one last formulated fake response.
Tonight the daughter-wife,
the tyrant beast-child is bored with me.
She instructs me,
she talks widdle dirl talk
and I can’t reach her.
So I plan her death
and she resents me.

I’m sick of article and clauses,
grammatical asterisks and salaries
and the careful garbage of mercenary words;
wielding nothing,
meaning nothing,
changing nothing.
I’m sick of it all:
the wife at home, home, the job, the car,
crashing into parking spaces,
buying food.

I arrive on time.
I forego all tiny pleasures.
I get nearly enough sleep.
I watch the hours pass.
I do my job.

In all this late arriving compromise
of the shared bed and the shared life
I have almost half-memory,
half memory of a distant life.

Image credit:Jakob Owens

Douglas Goodwin's books include Hung Like a Hebrew National, Half Memory of a Distant Life, and Slamming it Down. The latter two include a foreword by Charles Bukowski, who championed Goodwin's verse and corresponded with Goodwin over several years. Much of the Goodwin-Bukowski correspondence appears in the feature "Letters to Douglas Goodwin" in the 2015/16 edition of the Charles Bukowski Society Jahrbuch 2015/16, edited by Roni and Sönke Mann, out of Bamberg, Germany. Goodwin also collaborated with poet Steve Richmond on the literary magazine stance in the 1980s.