A Late Night Moment with Jim Harrison
Limp with night fears: hellbore, wolfsbane,
Marlowe is daggered, fire, volts, African vipers,
the grizzly the horse sensed, the rattlesnake
by the mailbox––how he struck at thrown rocks,
black water, framed by police, wanton wife,
I'm a bad poet broke and broken at thirty-two,
a renter, shot by mistake, airplanes and trains,
half-mast hard-ons, a poisoned earth, sun will
go out, car break down in a blizzard,
my animals die, fistfights, alcohol, caskets,
the hammerhead gliding under the boat near
Loggerhead Key, my soul, my heart, my brains,
my life so interminably struck with an ax
as wet wood splints bluntly, mauled into
sections for burning.
The poem is from Outlyer and Ghazals by Jim Harrison (1971). The easiest place to find these early poems is in Harrison's The Shape of the Journey: New and Collected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 1998).
The painting is Fall Moon Rising by Russell Chatham.