“Philip Seymour Hoffman is Dead”

March 18, 2014

He was fat.

As though his stomach contained a disorderly boiler,

that would blast out hot air and whimper and shrill.


He was addicted to those things we are all addicted to:

The sibilant near-silence of walking on snow at 3am to visit your mistress.

The elusive inevitability of orgasm and, afterwards, soundless technicolor contentment, and smiling

like a saint seeing God.


A pouting, frightened face on billboards,

he seemed to regret having left the womb.

Under the unwavering gaze of his unapplauding

wife who took the kids,

he groaned all the way to the dealer:


The illusion’s collapsed;

she’s leaving.

Staring up at the sunlit ceiling,

Relentlessly demanding receipts of love.

Atop the gutter I cry in Paris, Munich, Morocco, her lap.

I swallow all the coal polluted water of me, a kettle atop disappointed domesticity’s wood stove and

I understand.


If equal affection cannot be,

Let the more loving one be her.


Libidinal thunderstorms whip us up

And drive us down.


He was as fat as a baby.


Licking his lips as he surrendered at last to erasure, he said:

Let love make what it will of me.


This poem was written by Michael Mungellio for the Lannan Fellows Program

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