Thursday, July 13, 2006

On Hearing of the Death of Mr. Lay

"'Apparently, his heart simply gave out,' said Lay's pastor"
The Baltimore Sun, July 5, 2006 in response to the death of Kenneth Lay


What makes a man's heart stop?
clogged arteries?
fear of prison?
or might it be--
admission?

do you wake up one morning
and after drinking coffee
realize you're wearing
the emperor's clothes?

it's time to abdicate the throne
and all those stories you told
the others and yourself
ring dull like tin?

is this the status of hearts?
after the fancy houses and the being at the top
after the hoarding up of pensions and the yachts
and the stock and the holding of others
every day life
do the palpitations start?

does the heart just stop?

or does it shrink
from a frizzled yarn knot
to a tangle on a thread
to the snag
which just won't fit
through a needle

and then it
disappears

4 Comments:

Blogger twitches said...

The last two stanzas totally kick ass. Perfect.

Only one picky little thing: stanza 3 starts as a statement then ends with a question mark, and it's a little confusing...

I'm actually from Houston, so Lay's been all the talk this past week. A bizarre end to the whole thing, and a fitting subject for a poem. I love focusing on the heart (or lack of it).

8:28 AM  
Anonymous susanna said...

You know, I've read this poem several times over the past couple of days. At first I thought, how sad. Poor Mr. Lay. Until I realized (I'm a bit slow in this heat), which Mr. Lay you were talking about in your poem. On one hand I feel pity for his family. On the other hand, I feel for all his employees who lost everything. The stress of living such a lie for so long and then the shame of being caught so publicly must've "did him in" at the end. Maybe he broke his own heart.

11:55 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

mmm hmmm.
yup.

3:08 PM  
Blogger January said...

"it's time to abdicate the throne
and all those stories you told
the others and yourself
ring dull like tin?"

Yep.

Lay got off easy, in my opinion.

2:25 PM  

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