The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation

—Henry David Thoreau

 

Lying on a bed of nails

is not a bed of roses.

 

Maybe you happen to have been born

on one, and you just call it life,

in which the absence of petty quarrels and small brawls

forebodes larger disaster—your crazy uncle

going postal, your mother jumping out the window

before going into detox once again.

 

Or perhaps, at college, your professor

of philosophy, the defrocked Jesuit

who chain-smokes his Galois cigarettes,

will raise a question that will raise

another question, that will raise yet another,

and before you know it you’re in bed with him—

I don’t mean with his body but his mind—

and ten years later, at the age of thirty-five,

you will find yourself alone

smoking weed in a dark room in Seattle

while debating between ten pills or a gun

or going out to Starbucks for some coffee

because after all what difference does it make.

 

Or when your life is drawing to a close,

on some Sunday afternoon

on holiday in a small town on Long Island

you will wake up in a bed

with a woman you don’t know

who they tell you is your wife of fifty years.

Look, they’ll say, at the picture in your wallet,

that’s you, that’s her, those are your grown children,

your daughter and your two twin sons.

Don’t worry, you can learn to live with it.

In fact, it seems you have already.

 

by Carl Auerbach

 

Now that his four children are grown, he is pursuing a long-standing interest in poetry. He has had three poems and a short story nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Auerbach’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Amarillo Bay, The Baltimore Review, Bayou Magazine, Blue Lake Review, Brink Magazine, The Cape Rock, Chrysalis Reader, The Coachella Review, Colere, Confluence, Corium Magazine, The Critical Pass Review, descant, The Distillery, Eclipse, Edison Literary Review, Eleven Eleven, Euphony, Evansville Review, Forge, Freshwater, The Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Griffin, G.W. Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, Licking River Review, The Lindenwood Review, Louisville Review, The MacGuffin, The Minetta Review, Nimrod International Journal, North American Review, Oregon East, Organs of Vision and Speech Magazine, Passager, Pearl, Permafrost, Poem, RE:AL, Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine, Reed Magazine, The Round, Sanskrit, Schuylkill Valley Journal Of The Arts, The South Carolina Review, Spillway, Talking River, The Texas Review, Third Coast, Tower Journal, Westview, Willow Review, and The Write Room.

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