Fiction

Sad Catastrophe – F. Scott Fitzgerald

We don’t want visitors, we said:
They come and sit for hours;
They come when we have gone to bed;
They are imprisoned here by showers;
They come when they are low and bored–
Drink from the bottle of your heart.
Once it is emptied, the gay horde,
Shouting the Rubaiyat, depart.

I balked: I was at work, I cried;
Appeared unshaven or not at all;

Was out of gin: the cook had died
Of small-pox–and more tales as tall.
On boor and friend I turned the same
Dull eye, the same impatient tone–
The ones with beauty, sense and fame
Perceived we wished to be alone.

But dull folk, dreary ones and rude–
Long talker, lonely soul and quack–
Who hereto hadn’t dare intrude,
Found us alone, swarmed to attack,
Thought silence was attention; rage
An echo of their own home’s war–
Glad we had ceased to “be upstage.”
–But the nice people came no more.

From On Booze

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