Robert Donohue

Fan Fiction

I saw him last in nineteen eighty-seven
When Rolling Stone came out: sexy and dead,
Well, there he was, and very much alive,
But sexy? Maybe that was in the past.
It was as if a brilliant butterfly
Had metamorphosed back into a worm,
Content to feed itself on books and beer.
It happens frequently; we all retain
A kind of nudity true to ourselves
And casting off youth’s raiment we become
The souls our parents worried we might be.
Ironically, the habits that remained
Were the same ones he used to shape his image,
His books and booze. Concerning rock and roll,
He saved it for the jukebox: Elvis, Stones.
He sat there with a tattered paperback
And drank, the same routine most afternoons.
When he was in his beers he ordered shots
And we would pound some Jameson together.
This could have been indulged in to a purpose,
To channel cosmic energy towards him
Transmuting it into a Great Elixir
He would reveal as mystic renaissance.
He knew enough of alchemy to do it
And yet he didn’t then, and hasn’t since.

It’s not like I believe in alchemy,
It’s merely my habitual metaphor
I use when the occasion warrants it.
We go to bars to make things go away.
He was no different, but he had a flaw:
When he was clobbered he would really talk.
He talked about how he had faked his death.
He put the “fake” in quotes, because he may
Have died, and been dead for a little while,
Before he came to in the hospital.
On waking up he quickly thought to tie
A toe-tag meant for him on someone else
And walked to freedom right through the front doors.
A pupil of the old philosophers,
His needs were few, which worked out well for him,
He couldn’t touch the money anyway.
A deal was struck before he realized it
And left him standing there without a shadow.
But could you say he was a poet, too?
What harm is there believing that he was?
Now, as for poetry, I told you this.

Robert Donohue lives on Long Island, NY and works as a cleaner at a public library and at a high school.  His poetry has appeared in Measure, 2 Bridges Review, The Raintown Review, and elsewhere.