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the poem I’ll write for the rest of my life

—Marc Arena

(For Isa’s aunt Alicia first)

When asked, “what’s it for?”


For death

’Til then
For the molecules we lose
And where they go
Say for life

For it all
The faces we’ve seen
The bodies we’ve passed
And passed on

For the suffered

For those now
With empty bellies
And hearts the size of hunger
And as persistently growing
For the joyous

For those who somehow
Smile amongst the bereaved
And offer all when there’s nothing
So sound they silence

For the addicted

To the things man makes
To keep his family encaged
Whether through love or drug
They’re interchangeable
Matter of fact for love

For what it does and what it can’t do
The tide of it
And the swell
And the return

Matter of fact for hate

And the death of it
For when it is absolved
For being a product of loss
And the consumer of minds
For the mind

The way it grows
The synapses closed over time
And the firings that create
Both the real and the imaginary

For the real

For the sentient and the senses
For what is and isn’t
The ability to discern between
Here and what’s better
For what’s better

Whatever we think that is
It may not be better than this
But the effort to make sure
For that too

For the imagined

And those who dream
Who see the real as unfinished
And the dream as a blueprint
Who improvise utopia
For the Promised Land

For the bounty we have to offer
For the exchange and the barter
For the money, but never for that
So for the wealth, never money

For what?

For the impossible phrase

The cure we can’t find
The inspiration that doesn’t exist
And for the something we need
But can’t define
For the what

The knowledge of not knowing
For that being better than knowing
And for the inexplicable noticed
And for when we know

For so much

For it all
For you and for us
For the abolishment of the I
And for the permanent we
For gravel

And sand the time it took
For walking upright
Opposable thumbs and the wheel

For names

The bodies and the movements they make
The slow roll of hips

The pressure of lips
And the rhetoric they spit
Oh man for woman

Self-defined and the future
The fit and the puzzle we complete
The wisdom and whatever
For everything she wants

For the child

For mine and for the growing
For the ignorant and appreciative
Left alone in a cold world
But kept warm by the lived
For the end of this poem

Whenever it comes
For what it can’t include
Which is everything but what’s here
For the homage this is and can’t be

—Marc Arena

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