“Ode to the West Wind” by Tony Hoagland


Soon enough
it’s going to be another kind of adventure entirely
for us to be dying all out of order,
waiting to see who’s next, who a-
bruptly by surprise, and who

psychically equipped to take
the nasty needles and the drips
—the Ellis Island of the waiting room,
the midnight disbelief.

Well, fortunately we learned to like adventure
when we were wild and young,
when we cultivated a healthy
sense of unreality
that will be useful soon:
(“Nurse, could you bring more
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxmescaline to room 310?”).

No, now is not the time
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxfor a faltering of style,
not now when you can hear your teeth
chatter like a Geiger counter
and see the lesions burning through your very realistic skin

—Now, as the time machine accelerates
and you lean back and buckle up
with that famous nonce of savoir-faire
which makes you perfect for your part

in this whimsical yet ballsy independent film
in which we play the wind.


(as published in The American Poetry Review, Vol. 40/ No. 1)

This entry was posted in aging, death, poetry and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “Ode to the West Wind” by Tony Hoagland

  1. Jerome Bloom says:

    Bend like a Willow

    Grow like a Lotus

    What more

    Is needed

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