With aknowledgements to Bertolucci
for John

Do you remember, John
That late night movie
We couldn’t follow,
(Being stunned stupid
By Val’s bad news)

That one
Where the old man
Fumbled and fumbled
His fly,
Desperate for a good hard
To lay
The pretty milkmaid
Like a young man could

And when nothing happened,
Told her instead —

Cows are made of
Milk and shit, squish
Squish, milk and shit —

While I
Fumbled and fumbled
My brain,
Desperate for the right phrase
To take away
Your fears, your pain
Like a good friend would

And when nothing happened,
Told you instead
Something quite futile like —

Where there’s life
There’s hope —

When I really wanted to say —

Do not grieve
For the dying,
The not yet dead,
For those under sentence
May bury us instead.