“Energy is eternal delight.” – William Blake


At 4 years old I levitated

Locked my eyes and lifted from my bed

Floated through the house

Soared over mountains of crushed and flattened cars

I knew the golden flashes of the stars

The electric chanting of the air

The darkness of the universe

I knew invisibility

And on the stairs outside the kitchen door, I tasted endlessness


At 9 I pissed on my big sister who wouldn’t get off the pot

I squirted a gusher on that hapless, acne’d wretch

Soaked her chest, her lap. her thighs

That same day epiphany raged through me like an avalanche

The magnitude of death, end of consciousness, everlasting solitude

I shuddered, and shudder yet


At 13, my Bar Mitzvah year

I eavesdropped on my parents thrashings of desire

Ashamed, appalled, and beating off

And bragged about it to my friends


In my teens, (the young manhood of a Jew)

I bullied the weak, ridiculed the strange, shunned the lonely

and toadied to the crew I most admired.

I thirsted to become whatever it was I would become

I was a courtier in the courtyard of my life


At 21, the year I came of age,

In the spirit of equality I slapped a woman who loved me

Like Rimbaud, I turned away from rectitude, shunned all things familiar

Cheated my parents, they who seeded me, in the name of education

I enlisted in the Marine Corps in a dream of chivalry

Washed out quickly, my apathy intact

When no one was looking

I made babies cry and dogs whimper in pain

I was searching for an ethic of creativity, looking for a rose


At 31, appearing fully formed and fortunate

I was a husband, father, businessman in high regard

I walked upon the world intent on leaving footprints of achievement

I hankered after a baroque richness and a classical order

Doing what I had to do

I fleeced whoever trusted me, and bribed officials, and pimped my secretary

Along the way I cheated on my wife and gave her crabs

Kicked around my sons to ease my cares

Terrified my daughter to nurture her imagination

I paid no attention to the pageantry of time

No longer troubled to recall my dreams


At 40, aware of my impermanence

I’d learned that defeat and loss are the hyenas that feed upon us

And resilience is a lifelong obligation

I turned my lust to matters altruistic

Setting out to heal the sick at heart

I became the train that carried broken birds of passage

I listened to their cries at night and wailed into the night

In my envy I seduced the sad and lonely

Again and again my resolve to do some good unraveled into lassitude

My indifference sped desperate people to their ruin


Now, at 63, I bring you these bitter fruits, this litany of memories

The song of my self-loathing

I’m dedicated to a self-absorbed ideal of partial truth

I make no apologies

This is a cleaner work then what has gone before 

It redeems me by virtue of a half-assed honesty and graceful phrasing


I tell you I am joyful and unrepentant

I tell you these are the badges of my sainthood and mortality

I tell you I’m expanding as my world contracts

I tell you I’m a falcon rising

I tell you that I’m laughing as I gaze into my grave.


by David Lewitzky


David Lewitzky is a retired social worker/family therapist living out his sedentary life in Buffalo, New York. Recent work has appeared in Nimrod, Roanoke Review, and Third Wednesday among others and forthcoming work in Passages North, Clarion, Sam Smith’s Journal and Poetry Bus.


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