Monday, December 1, 2014

excerpt from Office Hours by Thom Gunn


excerpt from Office Hours

First saw him
on the street in front, in the
bar’s garbage, identifying
unfinished beers and swigging
off what was left of them,
shameless and exuberant,
remarking in friendly fashion
“It’s a doggy dog world.”
Charming error. He
had little idea of his looks
caught on a brief sill
between youthful lean times
and blowziness to come,
and too unfocused to try
hustling more than beer
and a night out of the rain.
Later, circling vaguely
the bar’s deep dark inside,
“Hitched up from New Orleans,”
he said. “Here, wanna feel it?”
It was already out
pushed soft into my hand. It was
a lovely gift to offer an old 
stranger
              without conditions
a present from New Orleans
in a doggy dog world.


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