Howard Firkin
      Advice and sympathy are equally
repellent. Keep those soothing noises stuck
fast in your gullet. Hope for better luck
yourself and doze off through my shabby story,
but don’t hang up. I need telecommunion.
      Until you’ve been a paunchy, middle-aged
disingénue in love you’ve never been
a fool, because fool is a quantum state between
which and all others decades of mismanaged
entropy and worship of illusion.

I stand exposed. I know it isn’t pretty:
flesh hanging in unmuscled mass on bone;
a clotted mind, thrombosed with guilt, self-pity,
and pique; ears buzzing with the busy tone.