I crawl back into the warm bed for a brief goodbye
and I hold her from behind as she stretches and squints
in a sleepy sweetness beyond anything I’ve ever touched
or seen and she likes me anyway, despite who I am
and what I am and I press my face into her as she pushes
back against me, then we kiss and say goodbye and I drag
myself up and finish getting dressed as she watches me,

And I drive off alone to work, aware of all the probable and
possible pratfalls and pitfalls that spring up along the way,
that await my arrival to deliver succulent and admirable
sucker punches to my astonished abdomen, my hands always
open at my sides, my face a hanging question mark,
always surprised and unprepared.

And the sun arches over and slowly fades out as the day moves
along with its minor disputes, silly questions,
dull office banter, and inexorable boredom as I scribble numbers
on a time sheet and listen to the cars drive by, outside,
until it’s time to go.

And this is how I waste my time, waiting for paychecks
as the days click past, walking down carpeted passageways
toward bathrooms with clogged urinals, washing my hands
at a row of sinks and watching my eyes in a mirror,
waiting for a glare or a frown or a flash of laughter
or anger as someone brushes past me on his way into a stall
and I apologize, self-consciously, edging back into a corridor,
walking sullenly back to a cubicle.


Image Credit:studio tdes
Douglas Goodwin is a poet who came to prominence in the 80s and famously attracted the admiration of Charles Bukowski. Goodwin's work is available in rare editions on Amazon.com.


  1. Reading this a second time I’m aware that there are only four full stops. Each stanza is one sentence, one free flowing sentence. Lines end on words that set up a turn, the next line often defying expectation. The tone is consistent all through the poem, call it melancholy, warm at first but growing cooler with each stanza. I’m being too analytical, I enjoyed the poem, it made me feel open, if that makes any sense to you.

  2. These are good observations, David. One of my to-do list items (on a never-ending list that never gets done) is to extend my analysis of Goodwin’s poems. Your observations are helpful.

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