uffizi (31)I’m tired of the usual—foofy dogs, West End musicals, Edgar Allan Poe.  Also leather jackets and the lost middle-aged men who believe that stretching a carcass across their backs brings Hell’s Angels cool.  Especially tired of not having one myself.  Tired of tragedy ending badly, gullible Hamlet taking the word of a rasping ghost.  Tired of talk about the tinctured light of Provence and the sacred tintinnabulations of Florentine shadows, especially my own yak yak yak, as if I now grasped Renaissance metaphysics thanks to frequent flyer miles.  Tired of the word tired.  Shouldn’t it drag along, multiple syllabled, like remonstration or jeremiad, drag, with eleven vowels packed together and a Maori death sentence hanging over my head if I fail to pronounce each one?  Tired too of diagrams explaining the collapse of the  twin towers, but no mention of the kaleidoscopic flight of ghosts.  And of course I’m tired of Time.  Big hand saying, Mr. Death, Kahuna of all Kahunas, he be waiting for you up ahead.  Little hand saying, Never, never in this life.  Meanwhile some invisible sundial turning in my chest, like the Spanish Inquisition, counting lost seconds and saying, This heart, baby, it’s all you got.  Tired of remembering my brat of a niece texting one of her dipstick friends the night my father died.  Texting beside his rest-home bed, when she should have memorized the stale air, bruises on his arm linked like the Great Lakes, the orange pad on the floor in case he rolled off, the way he twisted and rolled in his sleep, picking up one leg, then the other, as if climbing a mountain straight into the sky, not knowing which foot to put down next.

Lance Larsen’s most recent poetry collection is Backyard Alchemy (University of Tampa 2009).  His work appears widely and has been reprinted in Verse Daily, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, Best American Poetry 2009 and elsewhere.  His nonfiction has twice made the Notable Essay list in Best American Essays—in 2005 and 2009.  A professor at BYU, he has received an NEA fellowship and recently directed a study abroad theater program in London.

Photo by Dinty W. Moore