Out of the Past (Poem)

Out of the Past

1.  Jane Greer looks frankly into the camera
Wearing a black negligee, 1946
Laced about with smoke
From her cigarette

Looking from out of the past

And you wonder where you come from
Even though you know
And you wonder where you come from
Everywhere you go

Robert Mitchum in a raincoat
In a darkened city
Enshadowed by longing
And all his regret

Longing from out of the past

And you wonder where you come from
How can the days all be the same?
And you wonder where you come from
And why your name’s your name.

2.  Build my gallows high, babe
Dangle me from an ebon tree
I hang from all I’ve done
Or I hang for all I’ve done

No one is righteous, no

Not once have I sat
In a South American cantina
Wrapped in a brown study
Waiting for a woman,

For Jane Greer,
Who would have been worth it all,
Even the bullet in the gut,
Even the car crash at the end

But I want to make a break
To pass on the past

“What has history to do with me?
Mine is the first and only world.”

3.  Because the past is not always
A mode of access to what’s real
And the things you felt in childhood
Need not thematize what you feel

Running from, running out of the past

Looking, longing, running
And you wonder where you came from

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