HOW TO LIKE IT



These are the first days of fall. The wind
at evening smells of roads still to be traveled,
while the sound of leaves blowing across the lawns
is like an unsettled feeling in the blood,
the desire to get in a car and just keep driving.
A man and a dog descend their front steps.
The dog says, Letís go downtown and get crazy drunk.
Letís tip over all the trash cans we can find.
This is how dogs deal with the prospect of change.
But in his sense of the season, the man is struck
by the oppressiveness of his past, how his memories
which were shifting and fluid have grown more solid
until it seems he can see remembered faces
caught up among the dark places in the trees.
The dog says, Letís pick up some girls and just
rip off their clothes. Letís dig holes everywhere.
Above his house, the man notices wisps of cloud
crossing the face of the moon. Like in a movie,
he says to himself, a movie about a person
leaving on a journey. He looks down the street
to the hills outside of town and finds the cut
where the road heads north. He thinks of driving
on that road and the dusty smell of the car
heater, which hasnít been used since last winter.
The dog says, Letís go down to the diner and sniff
peopleís legs. Letís stuff ourselves on burgers.
In the manís mind, the road is empty and dark.
Pine trees press down to the edge of the shoulder,
where the eyes of animals, fixed in his headlights,
shine like small cautions against the night.
Sometimes a passing truck makes his whole car shake.
The dog says, Letís go to sleep. Letís lie down
by the fire and put our tails over our noses.
But the man wants to drive all night, crossing
one state line after another, and never stop
until the sun creeps into his rearview mirror.
Then heíll pull over and rest awhile before
starting again, and at dusk heíll crest a hill
and there, filling a valley, will be the lights
of a city entirely new to him.
But the dog says, Letís just go back inside.
Letís not do anything tonight. So they
walk back up the sidewalk to the front steps.
How is it possible to want so many things
and still want nothing. The man wants to sleep
and wants to hit his head again and again
against a wall. Why is it all so difficult?
But the dog says, Letís go make a sandwich.
Letís make the tallest sandwich anyoneís ever seen.
And thatís what they do and thatís where the manís
wife finds him, staring into the refrigerator
as if into the place where the answers are kept-
the ones telling why you get up in the morning
and how it is possible to sleep at night,
answers to what comes next and how to like it.




ó Stephen Dobyns
VELOCITIES: New & Selected Poems (Penguin, 1994)
Goodness suffices
and endures for ever;
On this throughout its years
true love depends.
~ Ovid
Love/Life Poems
The First Fruit Salad
Almanac of Last Things
Lighting Your Birthday Cake
What We Need/First Calf
Emily Rose
Life
After an Absence
Crossroads
On the Way to Work
Misery Loves Company
Having Come This Far
First He Looked Confused
The Country of Marriage
Love Poem
In the Department Store
Poem for the Family
The Perfect Day
What She Was Wearing
These Love Poems
Forgetfulness
The Wildest Word
The Oldest Cowboy
The sun has burst the sky
Riveted
LAUNDRY DAY
LINKS
SHOE BOX
SITE MAP
SCRAPBOOK
POETRY
WELCOME!
VIEWS
DIURNAL
QUOTES
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Crusoe
Field Notes
Aunt Bobby
After Love
Lute Music
Cabbage Moths
Cutting the Cake
Advice to Men Seeking Love
Ex-boyfriends in Heaven
Anne Porter's Poetry
Deep
Nature Morte Au Plat Et Pommes
Failing and Flying
Let Hours
Early in the Morning
My Son
How to Like It
Fireflies
No Solicitations Allowed
In the Middle
My Methodist Grandmother Said
Some Talking in Bed
The Hammock
It Is Marvelous
Geology
Girlfriends
In My Own Mind
Peacock Display
In Praise of Imperfect Love
Great Cathedrals
Raking
Tomorrow
You Must Accept
September Twelfth, 2001
Slow Dancing on the Highway
Desire
Still
Cinderella's Diary
They Sit Together on the Porch
Yes
After Making Love We Hear Footsteps
Second Chance
What We Want
Vocations Club
Hug
Gamin
Boarding a Bus
I Married You
The Irrational Numbers of Longing
Down on My Knees
The Guest House
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Idyll
Marginalia
Mother, In Love at Sixty
Why I Have A Crush On You
The Marriage-Bed
Love After Love
On Faith
Briefly It Enters, Briefly Speaks
Habitation
Nude Descending a Staircase
The judge was decent, but...
The Mutes
Mahogany China
Heaven, 1963
The Blue Robe
Instructions
The Shirt
Losing Track
Marriage
Wedding
Sweet Darkness
The Fight
Passionate Shepherd to His Love
November Again Again
Softly
Love at First Sight
Sex Ed
Love Does That
The Portent
You Touch Me
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