Dream Song 118: He Wondered: Do I Love? All This Applause

He wondered: Do I love? all this applause,
young beauties sitting at my feet & all,
and all.
It tires me out, he pondered: I'm tempted to break laws
and love myself, or the stupid questions asked me
move me to homicide—

so many beauties, one on either side,
the wall's behind me, into which I crawl
out of my repeating voice—
the mike folds down, the foolish askers fall
over theirselves in an audience of ashes
and Henry returns to rejoice

in dark & and still, and one sole beauty only
who never walked near Henry while the mob
was at him like a club:
she saw through things, she saw that he was lonely
and waited while he hid behind the wall
and all.

by John Berryman

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