One way of going is to bang the door your last time
out of the house, your rage hanging like dangerous gas
on the sun porch where your wife and children are crying.
You send them postcards from Sweden saying you're sorry
you took all the money out of the bank and you hope
they're not going hungry. You meet a blonde someone
you saw once in a movie and boy is she lovely.
You've taken up painting and already have a dealer
in New York, another in London. Five of your oils
are in European collections and a new museum
in Amsterdam has signed you to a five-year contract.
If it wasn't for one reviewer, a man whose name
sounds a little like the name of your favorite river,
who calls your best shots amateur and once in the Times
said you paint like some retarded spastic, you'd really
be happy. You keep his reviews in a scrapbook
and each night plan his murder. Naturally, you no longer paint.
The museum is suing you. The blonde is having an affair
with Burt Lancaster. Tired and broke you go back home,
the one you slammed out of when this poem began.
You sit there contrite in your rocker and watch TV.
Your wife is cooking your favorite clam fettucine.
The children say you watch too many crime shows,
you ought to take more walks.
Richard Hugo 1980