by George Bilgere

Feature image: Paul Sérusier. The Beach of Les Grands Sables at Le Pouldu, 1890. The Art Institute of Chicago.

Now we’re on this tourist island and I am going to rent a golf cart.

That would be a good way, a very good way, to start a novel.
But this is not a novel, it’s my life.
It must be written down so that later, when I’m old,
barely able to walk around whatever fearful place
I finally end up in, I’ll look in my journal

and there will be my writing,
my own hand, bolder and darker than the trembling scrawl
age has dealt me. I will stand at the window
looking at the new kinds of cars—mostly Chinese, I’m guessing—
zooming past in a world I no longer get on any level.

I will think about the 58-year-old self
who rented a golf cart that day,
his beautiful young wife beside him
as he talked to a nice Mexican guy named Ernesto
about insurance and late-return policies,

and not one of us—my wife, Ernesto, me—
recognizing the enormity of this, the sorrow,
the hugeness of the moment
in all its beautiful ordinariness
as it leaned so temporally,
so irrecoverably against the void.

And I will stand there weeping impotently.
I can see it coming. Already I’m prone
to saccharine effusions, and it’s only going to get worse with age.

I write this down in my journal: saccharine effusions—don’t worry about them.
Which will make my 88-year-old self smile,
then weep all the harder.

George Bilgere’s most recent book of poems is The White Museum, chosen by Alicia Ostriker for the 2010 Autumn House Poetry Series. He received a Pushcart Prize in 2009 and won the May Swenson Poetry Award in 2006 for Haywire (Utah State University Press). He teaches at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.

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