Coogan was loaded
into the bag feet first, and several husky volunteers from the studio crew
erected it. "You're on your own equilibrium, Dick," the assistant
whispered. A bell clanged, and Coogan punched away with both hands—short,
digging hooks. The bag and Coogan toppled over. He was gently extracted and
handed back his boots, jacket and gun belt.
fighting to stay upright," said Coogan glumly. "If that thing didn't go
over, I think I might have gone through it. But, what the hell, it's
impossible. I got a lousy agent."
An Old Man at
Autumn Remembers the Sea South of No Mans Land, Mass.
Was an hundred
and two years old;
sat in a cherrywood chair far from water,
hearing, in the windings of his ears,
gulls weeping in the asylum of the air.
Remembered now other evenings returning
south of No Mans where the broadbill breaches,
shaking the bottom from his bronze blade,
and the marlin—dark, Arabic tail and fin, mean beak
and ambiguous eye—runs the bait before him like a silver chain.
Soon winter, when swallows, following legend,
slept in lake bottoms, and only the enginous owl flew, soft as breath.
Had seen a mezzotint once: reindeer; further north
where herds steamed and boomed over the narrowing world.
In the ruinous orchard his great-grandson stood, neglecting leaves,
cleaving the windfall apples with a five-iron toward the orange hill;
could smell the sour chards.
Wished he was beyond hill, smoke, fallen apples,
south of No Mans now on the steep, cold marches of the sea
in the dory with the iron and the keg,
and the swordfish: his mild, blue eye.
His great-grandson lifted him from his chair, light as grasses,
and laid him out in his small, white room.
Was not asleep, was not worth being awake.
Lay there beneath the quilt and no bird sang but a hawk
which whistled, floating near like a tired swimmer in the air.
How many years? he'd seen five herons flying, tidal birds,
legs trailing like sweet-water roots south of No Mans; out of place, these,