Hopeless But Not Serious,
by Billy Collins
These days every morning begins like a joke
you think you have heard before,
but there is no one telling it
whom you can stop.
One day it's about a cow who walks into a bar,
then about a man with a big nose on his honeymoon,
then about a kangaroo who walks into a bar.
Each one takes up an entire day.
The sun looks like a prank Nathanael West
is pulling on the world; on the drive to work
cars are swinging comically from lane to lane.
The houses and lawns belong in cartoons.
The hours collapse into one another's arms.
The stories arc over noon and descend
like slow ferris wheels into the haze of evening.
You wish you could stop listening and get serious.
Trouble is you cannot remember the punch line
which never arrives till very late at night,
just as you are reaching for the bedside lamp,
just before you begin laughing in the dark.
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