The Man Who Fell in Sartre’s Grave – by Clint Margrave

 

On the day they buried Jean-Paul Sartre,
a young man fell
shortly before they lowered the coffin.

20,000 people stood watching
in Montparnasse cemetery,
where close-by Baudelaire
lay next to his hated stepfather.

No one ever said what happened after.
If someone in the massive crowd
of mourners offered a hand.
If Simone herself stood up from
the chair they’d placed at the foot
of the plot and reached in.

I like to imagine him somewhere now
middle-to-old-aged,
briefly removing the pipe from his mouth
to relay this story yet again
to his adult kids,
or his philosophy class,
or his latest mistress.

A topic of conversation
at parties among intellectuals
and friends. A point of
introduction. This is Guillaume
or Jean-Luc or Christophe.
“He fell in Sartre’s grave.”

I like to imagine he learned something
from the man he almost replaced,
and pulled himself up
by his own free will.

 

 

 

Clint Margrave is the author of Salute the Wreckage (2016) and The Early Death of Men (2012), both published by NYQ Books. His work has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, as well as in New York Quarterly, Rattle, Cimarron Review, Verse Daily, The American Journal of Poetry, Word Riot, and Ambit (UK), among others. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.

Platform – by Clint Margrave

 

I read that Kepler is in critical condition.
Should a space telescope have the right to die?
And why does McDonald’s only sell
Happy Meals? Depressed kids need to eat too.
I got my DNA kit results this morning. Turns out
I’m mostly white, but one fourth cynical,
and a ninth about to cry. A student brought up
that old joke about majoring in underwater
basket weaving. What is that? Am I the last to know?
He said baskets are woven underwater because
the wood is easier to bend. At first, I heard
“world” instead of “wood.” The DNA test also
revealed I’m 20% deaf, but mostly dumb.
At the bookstore they used to call me “Rock Star.”
It never bothered me until now. Back then I thought
I would be a rock star. Nothing hurt back then.
Not even rejection. Rejection was just action.
Now action carries a cane and loses its train
of thought sometimes. What is a train of thought
anyway? What kind of tracks are needed for it?
Is there a caboose? A bar? Does it require
reservations? Are there assigned seats or do I
just get on? Will a conductor ask to take my ticket?
What will I see when I look out the windows of a train
of thought? How fast can it go? Where do I
wait for it? What time does it arrive?

 

 

 

 

Clint Margrave is the author of Salute the Wreckage (2016) and The Early Death of Men (2012), both published by NYQ Books. His work has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, as well as in New York Quarterly, Rattle, Cimarron Review, Verse Daily, The American Journal of Poetry, Word Riot, and Ambit (UK), among others. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.