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An Inner Life for Dummies

On a planet that spins because it wants to,

it's hard to have a good job.

Think of the ghost of one Jacob Marley

and his eternal lecture circuit.

Jacob Marley's gaping maw.

Jacob Marley's trousseau.

Jacob Marley's growing suspicion

that even otherworldly music lessons

may very well go nowhere.

Shrouded in nether, Jacob Marley

gets his nipple pierced

in hopes of feeling something.

Glumly he holds his hand up to the sun

and through himself watches the sky.

Thinking of him is in itself a calling.

      And I too am dejected,

and despondent, and cannot banish from my mind

the lamentable transparency

of even our noblest midnight visitations,

though without them we are stunned and lonely,

sleepers whose eyelids remain still

as a stone crusader's. And with them

we are dazed, but kept company

by the tiniest of flickers,

like the light from a distant cinema

we may never enter

but whose doors are forever open.

Which reminds me of the time Jacob Marley told me,

"Crime-lords in Jersey

own every jukebox in the world." But still.

—Lisa Beskin



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