(in memory of Gary Austin)
Here before, gone now
Leaving behind more friends than enemies
They form a line, archiving memories of Funnyman
Archiving for who? Whom? His wife and daughter
Have their own memories, fresh as doom, closer
Than an oxygen mask, louder than the last breath rattle
Of a Funnyman descending the stage one final time. Clap.
Are they all angry – these funnymen? – with livers with rivers of bile,
Hearts stopped by grudges sludging under too much drink and too little fame,
Little men these funny men. It will all have been different twenty-five years before,
A different scene altogether: theater as empty as a hospital hall in the early morning,
An archive of downed twelve-ounce budweiser cans and spent marlboro reds, dead.
Change happens even to men in the glow of laughters, born of ire.
Funnyman has the last laugh.
Exits the theater on April Fools.
We hold breath, waiting a triumphal return
Bruiting rumors of island paradises, gigs with Elvis.
Funnyman funny still. Clap.