Robert Underhill’s Present

R
He was eight when they gave him the felt overcoat—
his birthday.

He knew it was special.
He was still reading Walter Scott not Gogol. The coat was light grey
and he was a knight in armor. It was adamant. Iced snowballs
and other missiles no longer hurt. Or barely.

He grew as do all boys who are not dwarves or midgets. The coat
grew, too. It kept pain out, and in.

He only looked at colleges in northern places.

He often drew the coat about him, like heroines
wrapping their shawls more tightly.

He was the intrepid leader through fresh snow and blue snow
and rotten ice and the Mojave.

He loved to look at women. It is difficult
to make love wearing an overcoat.

Gestalt and sandbox therapy did not help him
remove the coat, but helped him to talk about it,
to acknowledge it was there.

He knew that all the others knew, had always known.
Some urged him to undress.

He saw La Boheme in San Francisco and felt betrayed
when Schaunard sold his coat. Each time he played the CD
he cried at the last act.

He knew he had to get it off. Several times: Almost. Almost.
Perhaps that is exaggeration. He’d cut off a sleeve or a lapel.
But only pulled and wrenched the whole: it was so thick.

Finally, at sixty-five he knew he could not. And sank
into despair, the very state the coat was meant
to turn away.

He took a ship to France for his last meal.
He took one home to jump. Felt really pulled
him down into the deep.
29
Rating:

Comment form:

*Max text - 500. Manual moderation.

Similar Poems:

The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll
Fit the First
The Landing

"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Read Poem
0
72
Rating:

Giovanni Franchi by Mina Loy
Mina Loy
The threewomen who all walked
In the same dress
And it had falling ferns on it
Skipped parallel
To the progress
Of Giovanni Franchi

Giovanni Franchi’s wrists flicked
Flickeringly as he flacked them
Read Poem
0
48
Rating:

His mother stepped about her kitchen ... by Charles Reznikoff
Charles Reznikoff
His mother stepped about her kitchen, complaining in a low
voice;
all day his father sat stooped at a sewing machine.
When he went to high school Webber was in his class.
Webber lived in a neighborhood where the houses are set in
lawns with trees beside the gutters.
The boys who live there, after school, take their skates and
hockey sticks and play in the streets until nightfall.
Read Poem
0
42
Rating:

Lincoln by Delmore Schwartz
Delmore Schwartz
Manic-depressive Lincoln, national hero!
How just and true that this great nation, being conceived
In liberty by fugitives should find
—Strange ways and plays of monstrous History—
This Hamlet-type to be the President—

This failure, this unwilling bridegroom,
This tricky lawyer full of black despair—

He grew a beard, becoming President,
Read Poem
0
46
Rating:

Domestic Scenes by Charles Reznikoff
Charles Reznikoff
1

It was nearly daylight when she gave birth to the child,
lying on a quilt
he had doubled up for her.
He put the child on his left arm
and took it out of the room,
and she could hear the splashing water.
When he came back
Read Poem
0
58
Rating:

Herbert White by Frank Bidart
Frank Bidart
"When I hit her on the head, it was good,

and then I did it to her a couple of times,—
but it was funny,—afterwards,
it was as if somebody else did it...

Everything flat, without sharpness, richness or line.

Still, I liked to drive past the woods where she lay,
tell the old lady and the kids I had to take a piss,
hop out and do it to her...
Read Poem
0
45
Rating:

Interview by a Guggenheim Recipient by Charles Bukowski
Charles Bukowski
this South American up here on a Gugg
walked in with his whore
and she sat on the edge of my bed and
crossed her fine legs
and I kept looking at her legs
and he pulled at his stringy necktie
and I had a hangover
and he asked me
Read Poem
0
44
Rating:

Maximus, to Gloucester: Letter 2 by Charles Olson
Charles Olson
. . . . . tell you? ha! who
can tell another how
to manage the swimming?

he was right: people

don’t change. They only stand more
revealed. I,
likewise

1
Read Poem
0
49
Rating:

The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
I
He did not wear his scarlet coat,
For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
When they found him with the dead,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
And murdered in her bed.
Read Poem
0
60
Rating: