X Minus X
by Kenneth Fearing
Even when your friend, the radio, is still; even when her dream, the magazine, is finished; even when his life, the ticker, is silent; even when their destiny, the boulevard, is bare;
And after that paradise, the dance-hall, is closed; after that theater, the clinic, is dark,
Still there will be your desire, and hers, and his hopes and theirs,
Your laughter, their laughter,
Your curse and his curse, her reward and their reward, their dismay and his dismay and her dismay and yours—
Even when your enemy, the collector, is dead; even when your counsellor, the salesman, is sleeping; even when your sweetheart, the movie queen, has spoken; even when your friend, the magnate, is gone.
Kenneth Fearing(1902-1961) was an American poet, novelist, speechwriter, editor, and journalist. One literary critic named him “the chief poet of the American Depression.” He helped found the Partisan Review and took an active interest in leftist politics while also churning out pulp fiction that sometimes bordered on the pornographic under the pseudonym Kirk Wolff. His poetry uses contemporary vernacular to probe the grotesque in the urban landscape.