A Fast Life

» September 6th, 2019

Tim Dlugos is a poet that a friend introduced to me by reading a poem of his into my phone. I was enchanted. But it was a hectic day and all I could remember was that the poem was perfect and the poet’s name started with a D, not followed by a vowel.

A year later, at the library, I searched for him, D…g? . . l?… and eventually I landed on his collection A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos. I can’t really summarize the poems other than to say they track the intricacies and love and lust through the jungle of AIDS and death. Dlugas seemed incapable of a dull line.

Like a lot of great poetry it’s what’s left out that captivates:


It’s cold, you note

(correctly) as we walk

to the train


It’s midnight, it 

will be colder 

when you leave 

6 a.m. or so . . .


This is such a wonderful poetic somersault, with the flip left out. You head home with a potential lover you know might be an actual lover.  To fill the space he says “It’s cold.” The forced nature of the comment makes the anticipation between the walk to the train and the bed palpable. The clock strikes midnight and, suddenly, you are, as the voyeur/reader, curtained off. This is a private moment. But then morning threatens and we’re let back in. The sky is pale blue with dawn and what thrilled to the core six hours earlier is a now source of ineffable sadness. Sadder than a petite mort.




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