Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.


My accountant will kill me for this:
I cheat on my taxes.
He countersigns back-handed
not to jeopardize the firm.
But what about us?
Don’t we count for something–
the halt, infirm, the sick-at-heart?
My ancestor signed the Declaration,
the part that’s never reproduced.
I’m a writer myself.
I work strictly at home,
not to be spotted on the street
and called to account.
I’ve made ends meet:
A son for a soldier,
blood from a stone.
Alan Walowitz is a poet who’s been writing for quite a few years, and currently in Nassau County, where he keeps his eye on New York City proper from his doorstep. He teaches some days at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, and St. John’s University in Jamaica, NY.

Categories: Confession, Poetry, Themed

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 replies

  1. Great theme and great style

  2. I enjoyed reading this short poem. It is a very wise poem–except for the first two lines.

  3. I agree with Peter insofar as one wouldn’t want the IRS to read this! : ) Even so, I can relate to the struggle that the poet describes. Alas, it seems to be a chronic state for most teachers!

  4. I enjoyed reading this poem. It is very timely as we approach April.

  5. Quite serious and inscrutable–I don’t think anyone gets it.
    The last 2 lines have the effect of stopping me dead in my tracks–
    and I love that you’re hiding at home…


    • The poem was written in 1976, soon after the end of the Vietnam War. The idea of hiding out–somewhere, anywhere–was pervasive then. All of us needed to hide from something–from the draft, from the harsh reality of an absurd war being fought half a world away and on the TV news, from ourselves. This poem is written from the point of view of someone who has felt, and quite personally, the pain of those times. Even the approach of the Bicentennial, this great celebration, could not dampen the sense of loss that was so palpable in all of us. Hope the poem manages to say some of this; this too-long explanation probably indicates that it doesn’t say it well enough.

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