Like that old patient you have come to love in the contagious hospital that is your life


The Beautiful is the Familiar

So say that your downstairs neighbor screams in her sleep,
Alphonse, or that the drainpipe leaks, or that the putt-putt
of the radiators has kept you awake now for weeks, say
that the view from your window is not sublime, that
wherever you park your car is always declared
the alternate side of the street, or that the trash's
piled in the alley so high it resembles a monument,
or that the heat's off, and the block's just been rezoned
for a golf course, say your whole life at times
is merely a razzmatazz of inappropriate things
in an inappropriate place, nonetheless it's yours
and it is January and you have just come in from the cold
to the sight of familiar cups in familiar cupboards
and the feel of your head against the sheets
is a familiar feel and the radiator hiss
like that old patient you have come to love
in the contagious hospital that is your life,
and your downstairs neighbor screams as if
there's no tomorrow, though it is merely
afternoon and you have fallen to your knees
with that bizarre, old gratitude that grips you
at peculiar times when the only thing to celebrate
is what you own and what you own and what you are
are nearly the same, thought it may be you live
in a king's dominion by yourself and everything
you hallelujah for would not suffice for praise
at times like this in any other life
but does in yours, goddamn, it does it does,
and all your hallelujahs in the air for just
its plain and unromantic and for its perfect sake.

- Michael Blumenthal, from his gorgeous book of poetry, Against Romance.

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