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Raw November Afternoon

by William Corbett

The room darkens.
Light the light.
It’s 3 p.m., unshaven
I sit reading.
Twenty years ago
I’d get myself
out of the house
to Cambridge afternoons
into the dinner hour.
Imagine listening to men,
professors naturally,
debate the greatest
novel, Anna Karenina
vs. I forget what
tome of Dostoyevsky’s.
For tender stomachs
scotch and milk.
For others beers,
a lash of this or
that to raise the
ante, lift some dumb
argument about what
really matters
into really mattering.
What a waste!
I regret it all,
every hour blown
in talk, the money
spent, my passionate
stupidities, the . . .
but could I have
arrived here from
anywhere else but there?


William Corbett’s new book of poems, Boston Vermont, will appear from Zoland Books in September, 1999. His book on the sculptor John Raimondi will appear from Hudson Hills later that fall. (1999)


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