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All my life I’ve been waiting

February 3, 2011

Almost 10 years ago I read a poem at Moe’s bookstore in Berkeley, CA, that never left me. It is by Harold Norse, one of the favorite poets of William Carlos Williams, Charles Bukowski and William S. Burroughs, and the poem was never formally published. I have thought about it often over the years in a hazy attempt at remembering its lines and cadence, but with the eruptions on the streets in Egypt I’ve finally found it again, after rummaging through a few library stacks. The poem’s original spacing has been preserved.

 

ALL MY LIFE I’VE BEEN WAITING

 

All my life I’ve been waiting
for something unusual to happen.
I may yet come into a windfall,
National Endowment of the Hearts.
All my life I’ve been expecting
a grand finale, an awakening,
love erupting in the streets,
in the bars, in the classrooms,
everyone dropping their guard,
their pants, their skirts,
cops weeping tenderly
as they snap off your cuffs,
bankers giving away their money,
politicians telling the truth,
literary critics confessing
that they know nothing
about writing or life.
All my life I’ve been waiting
for something unusual to happen.

 

Benidorm, Spain, 1956

 

(Art by A1one in Tehran. ‘Rainy Day for the Son.’)

[Related] Class, Cairo and Catalonia

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