Hi, you must be a robust person.
Self-worth is something,
Grasshoppers elsewhere in the tall grass.
I like myself. I
Continue being just as nimble
& punctual as I
Can be, one who never dares leave
My home without hands
& feet. Last night I dreamt about The
Jerry Springer Show.
Specifically two memories.
In one, a dwarf leaves
Her husband for a guy named Hambone.
In the other, Gwar,
That messy metal band finds itself
Confronted by parents
Whose kids keep ruining the laundry
Insisting on fake blood
For customizing their t-shirts.
This morn, I remembered
Jerry Springer was once mayor of
Recorded a country album, earned
A law degree. Some
Things always change, are possible.
This string of seashells on display illuminates
Life. Look how delightfully it resists being
Interpreted, interrupted, relegated.
Slippery, was merely pieces once, haven’t cinched
To maintain a singular space. We can all see
The friction invested in their surfaces over
The centuries. Much bounces off my string of seashells.
Humor, agony, ecstasy, boredom, doubt, self-
Referentiality. Say God put these shells
Here. You would be wrong, interesting premise, but
You would be wrong. One cannot glance upon these shells
Without maintaining his or her own preference.
We all misbehave for our own purpose. A kind
Of collection of what I was thinking at each
Given moment. This one for when grandmother died.
This one for the envelopes I dropped beneath
The tires of the tractor. This one for the snake
The redneck kid pulled out of Lukens’ Lake. This one
For my first dislocated shoulder, my seventh.
This one belonged to Matthew’s dead hermit crab. I
Never cared if a seashell signaled a thing, more
Interested in the next seashell I will happen
Upon. You can feel this sort of energy grow.
I was thirty-one & I thought to myself:
This is a nice way of making something, a way
To remember what I’ve seen in the crashing waves.
Two unanswerable questions rose to the surface.
Are we ever beyond the pulling? Do you think?
Always seemed harder to surf without a surfboard.
Failures of reference, shifty variables
Near the equator. You & I both know I am
Talking about something without saying exactly
What it is, a fairly recent concern. I hope
This will take my string of seashells to impossible
Limits. On the other hand, it might just be this.
First day on the bus, I couldn’t have been
More than six years old, yes, mother dropped me
Off each day of kindergarten, baked in
The loaf of her brown sedan, no A/C.
A single seatbelt, mine. But then she flipped
Jobs, from the Crisco plant to the psych ward
& no way she was rising so early.
So thus take the bus I did. Anyhow
That first ride, no seats are left, & yes, scared
I am halfway to hell. My little sack
Of bones, my little sack of ham sandwich.
My little sack shriveled upward inside
Till the dang kindest cowboy to this day
I ever met, a high schooler named Jude
He lifted me without a word onto
His lap, & no, not in a way creepy
Sexual, or uncomfortable, no.
It just was & I rode there like he must
Atop his horse & my heart sequestered
Its mighty pitter & my blue eyes brushed
Off its patter. I saw it right there out
The dusty window—the fattest turkey
In the whole county. Knew it to be true.
It ducked behind the truck Dad left behind.
I spent today insulting him.
He had to argue.
I banged on the wall with my bell.
I entertained the thought.
He ran into the road.
I carried the smell of whiskey.
He wondered aloud if the law had been broken.
I distrusted the government, only briefly.
He sympathized with the bug on my windshield.
I sliced his thigh, got it over with.
He misses driving calmly together.
I developed a new tick.
He wiped his hands on my pants.
I was defeated by time.
You can call me a project-oriented poet. A big beam of obsession & confusion & delight shines down & I'm hooked for a bit. My two full-length collections of poems are WHAT IS WHO (my self-published MFA thesis at the Michener Center For Writers, 2018) & More Wreck More Wreck (published by Coconut Books in 2014). My most recently-released poem-project is FUTURE BARN, available for FREE both in PDF & audio form.
I'll post new poems every Friday from my forthcoming collection, I ONCE WAS SOMEONE ELSE & OFTEN STILL AM. I'd be honored if you gave it a read, a possible share. Thanks!