Unlikely poets and their poetry…

poetWhat frightens you the most?

A blank page?

Deadlines?

Words that don’t rhyme?

Noise?

Quiet?

Aspacebarthatdoesn’twork?

What Isn’t There
How many a writer or poet has been ruined
by reading Thoreau’s Walden only to retreat
to her own obscure pond and wait for those
pronounced feelings of nature, god and life,
perched before a blank page, ready to write
infamous words that will change everything
about seeing the sunrise, or a low moon,
the seasonal wrenching of life from death,
or death from life in the anonymous vacuum,
only to end a long, lonely day exhausted
and uninspired by the page called life
with no words to express what isn’t there.

Jack the Poet
Under a bag of old Marshall Field’s boxes,
and on top of a Kodak Carousel projector
tucked in the dark corner of her garage,
all dusty and crawling with dry creatures
is a stack of black binders – four total, dated
and numbered in hindsight 1/4, 2/4, 3/4
and the final, penultimate volume 4/4
of Jack’s poetry – Short Poems on Life
he titled them, by her Dad – Jack, obviously,
typed out with errors and corrections
on that onion-skin paper they used,
complete with a table of contents and
page numbers, so I counted 628 poems
of Jack’s life’s work of thoughts on life
from a man who drove a truck everyday
drank a beer as soon as he arrived home
liked to tinker with model trains some
and somehow over his entire adult life
wrote poems (the rhyming kind) about
everything from his boots to beer to
bosses to friends to family and the boy
he never had to what he wanted to be
when he was a kid to snow and rain to
how stop signs worked to women drivers
and back home at the end of each day,
and I turned each page carefully and
thought that I was the only one to look
at Jack’s Short Poems on Life since he
lost his memory, his wife, his pants
on several occasions, and even his
model trains that would chug and chug
around a modest oval in the basement
for hours and hours, sometimes deep into
the night – two or three – in the dark
except for the tiny lamp of the engine and
the red lantern of the caboose as he
sat on a stool wearing a engineer’s
cap and his pajamas.

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