Monday, March 23, 2009

Yorick's Skull

It’s probably a bad idea
to start writing a poem with the title.
Like I am doing right now,
but I can’t seem to stop thinking

about Yorick’s skull
and what Salinger had to say
in Franny and Zooey
and mind you, I think I might be
the only person on this lonely globe
that likes that book, who carried
a tattered old dog-eared, underlined, copy of it
from coast to coast,
tucked in the back pocket of her jeans,
and what Salinger said about having
a goddamn honorable skull when you die.
Does anyone remember that part?

I’m filling up journals
but I’m running out of ink
and this month is lasting forever
except I’m going to be 32 soon.
And darling, that sounds old,
older than Yorick’s skull,
and I’m trying to pay attention to the Way
and the Work
and keep my mind clear
and walk some kind of straight and narrow
and the intention of improvement,
with the gait of direction

but I’m still directionless
and they had that parade
in Bay Ridge yesterday and those kids
with the snappers,
sitting on the curb, their little Irish flags
and all that anticipation in all their faces,
little teeth, wide eyes, fat cheeks,
Christ, I could hardly stand it,
and me with my dirty hair
and bad knee felt like a monster among them
and definitely not honorable,
not this skull
not this month.

But I’m working on it, love.
Maybe next month.
Hell, maybe next year,
maybe 33,
who knows,
Double digits could be lucky.
If nothing else, I haven’t given up on that.


  1. Love, love Franny and Zooey - and this poem, too.

  2. Franny & Zooey is one of my all time favorite books, even though my skull is much less than honorable. My favorite part is when Zooey talks to Franny about the Fat Lady. I reread the whole book once a year, though, and always get more out of it.

    As for 33 being your year, remember it was the year Jesus was crucified, but I'm not sure if that was lucky or unlucky for him.

    I'll look for The Wanting Bone on Amazon -- I'd like to read more of your perspective on life.

  3. It's an amazing book. I hope the rumors are true about Salinger still writing. What a force. And Anon, I appreciate you reading my stuff and I hope you like the book. Please let me know what you think.