Any Place I Hang My Hat


In Amsterdam or Copenhagen,
Or any harbor that is a haven,
I did as I was told:
I wrote god it came out gold.
Many stole. I got caught.
I was the lucky thirteenth caller
Who heard the verdict in time’s cellar.
They said I would be shot.

In this place or that,
Or any place I hang my hat,
They never called me sir.
But god, did I love fighting with her
In college in New Haven,
Where minds were bought
And minds were sold
For ten cents on the dollar.

I heard the verdict in time’s cellar.
She was the buyer. I was the seller.
When we opened in New Haven,
She quipped it was no heaven.
But god, did I love fighting with her,
Before and after writhing with her,
In this place or that,
Or any place I hang my hat.

If wishes and deeds were one,
And nothing new under the sun,
Absent us not from felicity awhile;
Rather behold the face of heaven
Contort into the shape of a smile
As we stroll down the aisle
In Amsterdam or Copenhagen
Or any harbor that is a haven.

David Lehman’s recent books include A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs (2009) and the poetry collection Yeshiva Boys (2009). He lives in New York City and teaches at the New School.
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