At 3:30 a.m.—when it seemed to matter—
then later—it looks like—"Ugh valiter"—

something the cat brought in—the cat—
with his beautiful face—and his—purr—

And what about the only joke I can ever
remember?—the one about the guy in the bar

with a chicken on the barstool next to him—
and his wife waiting at home—I love

that joke—(it's the only one I can remember)
because it reaches a level of malice that tempers me.

And why not focus on the footnotes
in the book about Lincoln's melancholy?—

How his melancholy was immense—and—
creative in the end—in that it compelled him

to further suffering (and laughter)—which
imagination (real imagination)—requires.

So—when I wake up again at 4:30 a.m. (now)—
I'm almost used to—the way—I can always hear

the newspaper hit the front door—the news there
on the front stoop—it has become the same news—

(suicide roadside bombs)—Fallujah—and then
flares of regret go off in my heart—(my heart)—

which is usually big—sometimes small—
(too often fretful—you know this also)—it's the way

the cold rushing wind arrives like the world—turning—
(as it slows)—(turning again)—as it almost seems to stop.