When you’ve lost your ATM card –
That sudden hopeless sensation,
And the fear: what waiter or salesperson
Did you hand it to this morning,
Or last night, or yesterday afternoon,
And like an asshole plain forgot?
They don’t need the PIN number
These days to access your account,
Not if they’re really good – and now
You hear the voice of an imaginary hipster
In your head: “Dude, your funds are
Majorly at risk and that’s if you’re lucky.
Chances are your stash is already gone.”
At that moment (sigh!) you feel bereft too
About the years you wasted working
As a bellhop in Miami Beach,
Playing the horses, masturbating,
Able to sleep only with the aid of
Silicon earplugs, the Puerto Ricans
Downstairs screaming pendejo!
At each other at the top of their lungs.
Then came the decades of bussing tables --
And the abscesses and the embolisms
And the aneurisms. Nor are the hemorrhoids
Forgotten, oy, pain matched only by indignity.
But what’s this? Something peculiar
Is happening, a spontaneous transformation
Of mood: you feel alive, buoyed up, energized –
The empty feeling of losing your ATM card
Almost (but not entirely) obliterated
By the memory of getting kicked in the balls
By a policeman or that morning your foot got
Stuck in the conveyor belt at the apple sauce
Factory and everybody thought it was funny as hell.
Life is hard, but hath been harder still, grasshopper,
And now you feel, um, not good exactly -- but better!
For what does the Talmud say of sorrow?
Greater sorrow is a half-consolation.