The price of Eden is eternal loneliness
and there’s no such thing as a good cigar
worth a plugged nickel

                                         for your hedonic nature.
But this side of Eden is no earthly paradise,
and this side of Jefferson flips a thousand buffaloes
on their tails across the plain again to die.

The price of freedom is external parasites.
Give the ticks your head, their gods what is theirs,
and mortgage the thousands to whomever
comes round again; then your veined leafed hands
drink the down-drawn substance of my inky sky.

The pride of evening is this vernal sibilance
whispering fresh through leaves of evening trees
to bring this victim blanched to his knees,
vanquished white in light.

                                              But, oh, their susurrus:
the prize of heaven is infernal forgiveness
and the gates once open never close.

April 19, 1979

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