Thursday, March 5, 2020

I Stay Home

I Stay Home

is the title of a poem
by my colleague, friend and neighbor
Andrew Carrigan, recently
deceased (pancreatic cancer)

and I wanted to present that poem
here, and then write my own version
with the same title, but
I can’t find his poem,
even in the half-dozen of his books
or the unpublished manuscript
of his Complete Poems,

so instead I’ll have to venture
uninspired by his poem but only
by my memory of his spirit, his laugh
and his slanted joyful view of the world,

though come to think of it, I don’t
really stay home (I wish I knew
what Andy meant when he said it,
if he said it, memory being slippery)
though my radius has shrunk to
about 30 miles, with plans for 200,
but my reading, my memory/imagination,
Netflix and Kim’s 30,000+ photos
mean that I travel frequently
even while I Stay Home, with Kim
and now, here, with Andy.

The poem below I wrote about Andy about 30 years ago. It does, in fact, recount a dream. You may pick up a note of envy.

            Dreaming of Carrigan

You are a prisoner in a hotel in a
foreign country near the border
and we help you escape from the guards but
you are trapped on the fourth floor and so you
choose to leave by a window, crawl along
a thin ledge around a corner and
apparently jump, for from the beach below
you call up that flying is great
we should try it.

You escape but cannot leave it at that.
From your hideout in the sand dunes below
your shaggy earnest grinning head appears
to call poems up to us, new ones that you’ve
just written this morning, and we tell you
to duck, they are looking for you, but you
smile and linger enough to show us how
and then disappear to write us more for later.

You swim around the border to a city and
are being chased by police though the night streets
with a girl held in one hand, more poems in
the other as you turn the chase into
a romp though they are gaining on your
casual pace, broken by stops to show strollers
your poems and await their interested response.

You do not take the drama of the chase
as seriously as we want you to, or perhaps
you do, for when they catch you and
you are handcuffed, smiling, the girl gone, in the
back seat of the squad car, from your pockets or
from your hand itself spring new poems
which you keep showing the dutiful police
who read them as they guard you and drive
and admire them and discuss them with you
a genuine poet as they take you away.

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