assisted living

(for E.P. after reading Dream Song by Paul Mariani)

lacking the magic of Berryman
or the alcoholic haze
that heightens insight
(his words, not mine)
he relied on sleeplessness
a steady supply of which
bad neighbors insured
he ought to thank them
those pranksters
and party goers
party throwers
for those weeks of no sleep
that night of groping
for inspiration
and settling
for the thing he knew best
the impossibility of rest
in a complex
so complex

7 replies on “assisted living”

Your writing sent me to purchase Dream Song…ninety cents on Amaz. I had read some Berryman years ago. “the impossibility of rest in a complex so complex” is a line that makes me pause and mentally pull together images from several nursing home visits. Yiyr writing renews my commitment to hold each healthy day as a cherished gift. Thank you.


My thanks to you, Ptc,

I am not a huge fan of Berryman’s poetry (I admit with some shame) but reading his bio (Dream Song by Mariani) was an eye opener. It made me think of my own mortality and my idiosyncrasies. Reading Dream Song (its name taken from Berryman’s series of poems called Dream Songs) is to read a history of poetry of that
era. Those poets ‘each had the other’s back’. It is a good read. I got my copy from the half price book store,
from the dollar table. I am considering returning and asking for a ten cent refund. (I’m kidding of course.)

Thanks for taking a look at my poem. I very much enjoy these exchanges with you.



Dear Sarah

I love that idea … poets having each other’s backs. You’re our living exemplar of that … with all you do with and for The Pub and everyone who contributes.

Your poem, however …

… really haunting. Gives me a living sense of someone staring down their very own End of Days, seeming simultaneously oppressed by yet objectively distant from it.

Great work.


Liked by 1 person

Hello Mark!!

I feel very selfish when I think of my relationship to The Peaceful Pub.
I get so much more from the experience than I could ever give. The poets
are family to me. The poetry inspires me. So, I say to you Dear Poet
of The Peaceful Pub, thank you for being here, and for sharing pieces of
your soul. You have a gift and you give a gift. I take and appreciate.

As for the ‘end of days’…the E.P. that my poem was dedicated to is Ezra Pound.
I am now reading his bio titled “The Solitary Volcano” by John Tytell. I have
just finished reading Dream Song by Paul Mariani. Both books start ‘slow’. I
can attest to the splendor of Mariani’a Dream Song. I think every serious
poet should read it. I have just begun Pound’s bio so can’t make any comment
at this point. I don’t know how much you know of Pound’s history but he ended
up confined to an asylum for the insane. The government wanted to hang him for
treason so the asylum was the lesser of two evils. Can you imagine a poet being
in that situation? Anyhow, the complex complex refers to the asylum. It made
me think that assisted living is really an asylum of sorts. I appreciate your
keen observation.

Many thanks for being here and for taking time with my poem.



Hi Sarah

What a strong and startling poem — it is sometimes the restlessness that makes us face our own age and vulnerability. We keep trying to define experience but can’t seem to find the words or even , sometimes, the feeling. Indeed it is “something complex within a complex”. An intricate matter within an obsessive condition. I love the voice in this piece and the way you have interpreted Berryman. I also like the title and might take that to mean beyond help with limited skill thought or mobility, how the restlessness/angst assists us in realizing we are all fragile and need to confront our limitations whether they be those of the creative process or those of aging/life.

Beautiful work!
Take care

Liked by 1 person


You give great gifts with your replies. I love the way you
look into a poem and find its core. Based on your replies,
your own writing and all the contact I have had with you
over the years, I truly believe you are the most empathetic
person I have ever known. For the sake of all those who lack
voice in one way or the other, I am so thankful that you exist
as a person, a poet and a treasured friend.



Hi Sarah

Youi’ve just made my day with that wonderful commentary. And you have given so much to this pub and to our community, I can’t tell you how much your efforts and this place means to me. You have given me a sense of feeling accomplished and more importantly, a place of belonging. So dear friend, I say thank you with much appreciation and respect for all you do and all you are. I treasure my moments here, our friendship and my ability to interact with all the wonderful pubsters!

Take care

Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s