Kenneth Fearing

(1902 - 1961 / Illinois / United States)

Evening Song


Sleep, McKade.
  Fold up the day. It was a bright scarf.
  Put it away.
  Take yourself to pieces like a house of cards.

It is time to be a grey mouse under a tall building.
  Go there. Go there now.
  Look at the huge nails. Run behind the pipes.
  Scamper in the walls.
  Crawl towards the beckoning girl, her breasts are warm.
  But here is a dead man. A murderer?
  Kill him with your pistol. Creep past him to the girl.

Sleep, McKade.
  Throw one arm across the bed. Wind your watch.
  You are a gentleman, and important.
  Yawn. Go to sleep.

The continent turning from the sun is quiet.
  Your ticker waits for tomorrow morning
  And you are alive now.
  It will be a long time before they put McKade under the sod.
  Sometime, but not now.
  Sometime, though. Sometime, for certain.

Take apart your brain,
  Close the mouths in it that have been hungry,
  They are fed for a while.
  Go to sleep, you are a gentleman. McKade, alive and sane.
  A gentleman of position.

Tip your hat to the lady.
  Speak to the mayor.
  You are a personal friend of the mayor's, are you not?
  True. A friend of the mayor's.
  And you met the Queen of Roumania. True.

Then go to sleep.
  Be a dog sleeping in the old sun.
  Be a poodle drowsing in the old sun, by the Appian Way.
  Be a dog lying the meadow watching soldiers pass on the road.
  Chase after the woman who beckons.
  Run from the policeman with the dagger. It will split your bones.
  Be terrified.
  Curl up and drowse on the pavement of Fifth Avenue in the old sun.
  Sleep, McKade.
  Yawn.
  Go to sleep.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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