Howard Firkin
for Wendy
Each generation has to learn to say
      fuck on the stage and think it meaningful.
Each time it is, and those who know the trick
      should stick it out, remembering to clap
in all the pauses left there for applause.
We only learn the things we knew before,
      and only know we’ve lost them when we learn
them all again, and then, we don’t recall
      quite how it was, but only that it wasn’t
this—which shows we’re making progress, yes?

I know a joke which goes like this: the sun
      comes up and lights the day and everyone,
expecting nothing else, goes into town
      and works until, that night, the sun goes down.