Manhattan, and elsewhere by Larry Jones

That line of Diane Keaton’s,
“A handful of poems, is that
all, what a life is worth?”
Manhattan?  Wherefore Kenneth?
Wherever Frank, Ashbery Park?

Had that indeed been the line,
verbatim?  Last binding word,
worth, my middle name?  What
to make of her, my own, birth-
date, zero one, zero five …?

glare of red lights flashing,
blare of sirens wailing,
a fire engine, then a vision
in gold, the figure five,
the good Jersey doctor’s poem.

Will those have been the last
versus latest of the lines?
Had my conception actually
been some misconception about
what a life might be worth?

In this instance, net worth
nothing, zero, less, a notion
originally innocent enough,
invasion of another’s privacy
for how much longer?  First/

final namesake/coronary fifty-
three, four, maybe even five?
Those five, that handful of
poems and lovers, familiar if
finally uncharted destinations.

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