Friday, May 28, 2010

I Am Not A Poet

I Am Not A Poet

I am not a poet when I type

A garble of rhyme schemes
In a structure that might
Suggest that maybe

I wish to be

But sometimes I just write

Accidental poetry
And incidentally
It may seem that

I wish to be

But I assure you

I do not aspire for that.
And perhaps poetry is something
That wishes aspire me.


I was standing alone with my arms outstretched

that night, dew on the capital lawn. The ghosts
of my past hanging loosely to my fingertips-
trailing just far enough behind

But never gone.

A spire in the distance stabbed high above

the tree line. A silhouette in the night. My future
riding on the tip of my nose- pointing
to the same sky from which these pallid eyes hide.

Myopic in the dim city lights.

Yet that night I felt something that shook me

wide across boundaries
that I never before dared touch
And blindly I grabbed.

I'm ready, I said. I'm ready

To come home.
And I knew what that meant
during that suspended breath.

And as I stretched my arms just a fraction wider

I realized the flaw in my intent.
I can't be taken home
If I never learned what Home meant.


I know Highway 12

Like the back of this tired hand
That grips this decrepit wheel
As I sway between
The yellow
and white lines.

As time slips away

and leisure is cadged:
Between these lines I sway.

Where poetry is a safe place

From these minutes strafed
By busyness and haste:

I stay.

For just a moment to sway

Across this black terrain
Mere inches away
And hundreds of miles a day.


As I stood bare feet

The grass up to my knees
I rolled up my sleeves
And pushed my pant legs down.

The sparse cottonwood swirled

And danced as it took
The way of the wind's whim
Toward the woods and the brook.

And all of these little clouds

Meant something to me:
Representing one sin each
Leaving my conscious free.

So small.

So innocent.
Some forgotten.
Some aged.

But suddenly in thousands

They plagued, making turbid
The clear blue sky
Until it became pallid and white.

Then the wind behind me

Blew harder than a whim
And by force they pushed
Blanching the sky as a scrim.

And finally when a lifetime

Of white before me passed
I chased a lagging cottonwood
To see where it would come to rest.

Through bramble and brush it led and

Over cattail and creek I splashed.
When finally in a clearing
I reached the end of my quest.

There an endless sea

Of cottonwood had massed
And out in the distance:
A man wading through the mess.

He spoke to me and said:

It seems your carelessness
Has found its way to my hamlet!
And if you'd like the chance
To rid yourself of these solecisms
I'd gladly take this burden
But you can keep them too,
I guess.

So I dug in my pockets

And reached in the collar
Behind me neck
Looking for any more
That the wind might have missed.

But the sea held them all.

So I smiled

Gave my thanks

And left.

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