67% Hopperized Bathos

“…so when we look at the painting…we say it’s a Hopper.
We don’t say it’s a gas station …”
from Mark Strand’s notebook, found after he died in 2014.

Freshboy eye candy larva, after Latin class in the Harvard Yard, this puerile grub
put out 2/3′s the hard yards required to acquire Life Magazine’s worn mustachioed
thrift-shop-Brooks Brothers-tweed-jacket-torn-leather-elbow-patches + pipe persona.

As an apostate from one of those sunny big square states, I got taught
nodding Yessir to Pops and Grandpa about pumping gas, slopping the hogs
and then squeegeeing their crap off the pickup, in the end is what really counts.

A self-conscious introvert, I bathed alone in the shadows of Waldorf Cafeteria
cigar circles whose prodigies fueled my piggybacking doom, Disregard pale fools
you come from, kiddo; that’s what this damaged rube from the other side of the Rockies

did while the splintered men’s room mirror futilely attempted to dispense PEZ.
Five decades later, Nordstrom said, Color the hairs left. Whiten dentures. Switch
out glasses for contacts — which prepped for an inevitably less than gala college reunion.

Gerard Sarnat