Thursday, April 29, 2010

William Matthews

Fellow Oddballs

The sodden sleep from which we open like umbrellas,
the way money keeps us in circulation, the scumbled lists
we make of what to do and what, God help us, to undo ---

an oddball knows an oddball at forty or at 40,000
paces. Let's raise our dribble glasses. Here's to us,
morose at dances and giggly in committee,

and here's to us on whose ironic bodies new clothes
pucker that clung like shrink wrap to the manikins.
And here's to the threadbare charm of our self-pity.

For when the waiters, who are really actors between parts,
have crumbed for the last time our wobbly tables,
and we've patted our pockets for keys and cigarettes

enough until tomorrow, for the coat-check token
and for whatever's missing, well then, what next? God knows,
who counts us on God's shapely toes, one and one and one.

-from "Search Party: Collected Poems"

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