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Sunday, 1 December 2019

Running with the Demon

At Prospect Park in mid-November, 
five Gold Rush apples in my bag,
I remember a summer years ago 
in the Trossachs, where I sat on a bank

with bluebells in the clear light, remembering 
another summer yet, in Saskatchewan, 
and a book called Running with the Demon
about a girl who sees what no one else sees 

and evil on the increase, and how 
to read it as a boy was so like the ache 
of recalling it now, with the bluebells all around,  
that it seems all feeling must be nourished 

by the sense of once being more purely felt,
the past shining with pasts deeper in,
for what thing ever ended in itself?
And then I look up and it is Brooklyn. 

Longing is our desire to posses 
not just what we had but the circumstance
in which we had it, Spinoza writes,
and might have added—as if we ever 

had it. New York’s sun is Scotland’s, and in 
Scotland a prairie sun burns through, 
and all my melancholy is only 
futile wanting’s bruise. Give me back

my own sadness, the demon at the edge 
of town, and let me keep everything that is
happening now. Let me bring these apples 
into old age, carry them past death

I'll eat them in heaven. Let me pull 
from my bag this being here, feeling
what’s been felt for a thousand years 
and never gotten to the bottom of.

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