To Mitigate the Pain of My Guilt
After Lawrence Ferlinghetti
by Jerry Garcia

I am waiting for my case to come up
for my faults to be judged
and my defects to be banished.
I am waiting for rancor to be dislodged
from the throats of those
who distrust me and I am waiting
for those who defend me
to be absolved of complicity.

I am waiting for moral hazard
to boomerang at the masters
of conceit who fail to protect
the needy and I am waiting
for my collusion to be pardoned
and for my unwitting membership
to be excised from those who gather
to perpetrate deceit.

I am waiting for my defense
to rise against false accusers
and for the disingenuous to drown
in the waters of Noah.

I am waiting for my dreams to not
defeat me and I am waiting
for my neighbors to not shun me
and I am waiting for a daughter’s embrace
to mitigate the pain of my guilt.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Last April (2014) I received a prompt that said, “Pick up the book nearest you and open it at random. Write a piece based on the first sentence your eyes find.” The book I had on my desk was A Coney Island of the Mind. I had turned to the poem “I Am Waiting.” So I borrowed the first line and riffed from there. When I saw this call for submissions from Silver Birch Press, I took out the poem to make some revisions and here you go.

IMAGE: “Noah and the Rainbow” by Marc Chagall (1966).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jerry Garcia is a poet, photographer, and filmmaker from Los Angeles, California. His poetry has been seen in a variety of journals, including: Chaparral, The Chiron Review, Askew, Lummox, Palabra Magazine, poeticdiversity, The San Pedro River Review, and his chapbook Hitchhiking with the Guilty. Visit him at