We don’t have to let go of Jim Harrison.  His poetry remains.  But Jim,

my companion over many years, you said it well.


Pain (2) by Jim Harrison


Pain is at the steering wheel

swerving left and right for a year now.

It costs a fortune, which I don’t have,

to try to get rid of the pain. Maybe a girl

could help or more vodka but I doubt it.

Or a trip to the tropics where the pain would boil away

like the hot cabin last summer where you awoke

and thought you were a corned beef boiling in a pot.

You want to give up, throw in the towel but you

can’t give up because you’re all you have.

Maybe they should put you down like an old dog

like our beloved cocker spaniel Mary who is nearing

the end with paralysis. Unlike me

she’s happy much of the time. On walks

she keeps falling down and I pick her up

to get her started again. She seems to smile.

Neither of us wants to die

when there’s work to be done,

other creatures to be snuck up on,

food to be eaten, a creek to wade,

though I hope to eventually ask God to fully

explain the meaning of Verdun where 300,000 died.