Sad Stories Told in Bars: The Reader's Digest Version

(1991)

"Sad Stories Told in Bars: The Reader's Digest Version" is the second song of Paul Salerni's Sad Stories cycle. "Sad Stories Told in Bars: The Reader's Digest Version" is a poem of William Matthews originally published in The New Yorker.

Sad Stories Told in Bars: The Reader's Digest Version
by William Matthews


First I was born and it was tough on Mom.
Dad felt left out. There's much I can't recall.
I seethed my way to speech and said a lot
of things: some were deemed cute. I was so small
my likely chance was growth, and so I grew.
Long days in school I filled, like a spring creek,
with boredom. Sex I discovered soon
enough, I now think. Sweet misery!


There's not enough room in a poem so curt
to get me out of adolescence, yet
I'm nearing fifty with a limp, and dread
the way the dead get stacked up like a cord
of wood. Not much of a story, it is?
The life that matters not the one I've led.


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