21.

TWENTY-ONE
by Rod McKuen, from Listen To The Warm © 1967

Only a day away
the loneliness is unbearable.
How will it be if you are a year gone?

What will happen
if I am not to know again
                        your warm arms
your shoulder next to my face at night
the quiet talk over strong coffee
the chase along the toll beach
                                 and oh God
so many things.

I am afraid of being alone now
it happens every time you close the door
or go into the next room
                 away from me.

I am like a child again
I can’t be left alone.

Hurry.

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4 thoughts on “21.

  1. I remember Rod McKuen got a bad rap by 60s hipsters. Looking him up on Wikipedia just now, I didn’t realize he was so successful. Great share! An enlightening wake up for the “effete snobs” (Spiro Agnes’s definition of hippie protesters) of the Nixon era!

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    • He’s very straightforward. There are no metaphors to untangle, footnotes to look up, or obscure references back to something you vaguely remember being required to read in high school. I think it takes a certain courage not to hide your point.

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  2. …great poem… it makes me feel a bit guilty of how I behaved in my younger, early burglary years…

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