Two poems for the last day of April and the end of National Poetry Month

A Last Poem

 

This journal isn’t full,

but it is finished.

 

When Writing in a New Journal

 

I wonder, will a larger canvas make

a difference? Will this larger surface take

the words and images the same or will

the poems change? be better? turn to swill?

The subject matter is proportional.

You try to capture a processional

and if the canvas isn’t big enough

you’ll find it is impossible. You’ll stuff

the page. The images will overwhelm

the overall design. An image caught on film

demands a size appropriate to what

is captured. Print it wrong, you cut

the impact that the image could have had.

It may not be the end result is bad

exactly just that it’s a little off.

And so I wonder will this journal work?

The Benefit of Meditation

It isn’t that I’m just a lazy bum.

I’m meditating, thinking deep, deep thoughts.

I’m focusing on what’s important. Ooooommmmm.

I think that’s right. It doesn’t sound quite right.

Should I add more or fewer Os and Ms?

Or more or fewer Os or Ms? The oars,

I would be up a creek without the oars.

I’ve always wondered, why does corn have ears?

And what is it a corn stalk hears or fears?

I’ve never really liked the taste of beer.

It’s weird, at night the train from miles away

comes roaring through the window. Just at night,

and just on Summer nights. I wonder if

I’ve meditated long enough. How long

should meditation last? Am I supposed

to concentrate on toes? Imagine they

go wee, wee, wee? Or do I have it wrong?

My belly button. I remember now.

I focus on my belly button. Right.

It’s that and ohms and I’m electrified.

I’m meditated, medicated, done.

A Total Waste

The Canterbury Tales? You know, I do

remember even after twenty years.

“Whan that April with his shoures soote

The drought of March hath percèd to the roote

And bathèd every vein in swich liquor

Of which virtue engendered is the flour.”

We had to get the Middle English right.

It wasn’t good enough to learn the words.

We had to say the words correctly too.

The jerk was never satisfied until

we said it perfectly. I don’t know why

I still remember it. A total waste

of time. I’ve never used a single thing

we studied in that class. A single thing!

I still don’t understand the reason we

were forced to memorize those stupid lines,

to learn those idiotic eighteen lines.

Buy yeah, I can recite them even now.

Shakespeare Can Keep Them

I wrote a Shakespearean sonnet once

with fourteen lines and rhymes and everything.

I don’t remember what it was about.

I just remember that I wrote one once.

I didn’t check it off my bucket list.

My list’s reserved for the impossible

like riding in the Tour de France. It’s not

for sonnets, not for ordinary things

or bragging rights. I wrote it just because

I guess, or maybe, I don’t really know.

I just remember that I wrote one once

with fourteen lines and rhymes and everything

a sonnet is supposed to have. I’m sure

the meter creaked. I’m sure the rhymes were forced

and probably the subject matter sucked.

Someday I’ll have write another one,

and it’s ok if someday never comes.

A sonnet isn’t on my bucket list.

A Conundrum

I might as well get started anyway.

I mean, I might as well. I’m sitting here.

There’s nothing else to do. There’s nothing else

I want to do or really ought to do.

I am just sitting here. I might as well

get started. After all, it’s better than

just sitting here and later, when it’s done

I can go back to sitting here again.

There will be time to sit here when I’m done.

But then I won’t have anything to do.

May Comes Just in Time

And have you ever wondered what it’s like

to have the adulation of the crowd,

to be the one that everybody wants

to be, the one that everybody envies? Well,

consider for a moment what it’s like.

Consider what you’d lose if it was you.

I don’t imagine what it’s like. I know

what it is like when everyone you know,

and even strangers half a world away,

can tell what you are thinking, what you’ve done

and haven’t done; can share with others all

and everything. It isn’t possible to hide.

And what is worse, I’ve done it to myself.

It’s all my fault, but I can make it stop.

I can and will retreat, will cover up and hide.

No longer will you see me on a pedestal,

a plinth, a soapbox ranting to the world.

And even though, at times, my readers have

been numbered in the upper single digits,

I’m quitting anyway. It’s at an end.

When I was working on a master’s degree it took me a year and a half to write thirty dumb poems to submit as a master’s thesis. And now I’ve written thirty poems just this month. And if I staggered to the end, I did make it to the end The winner isn’t just the one who finishes ahead of everybody else. Everyone who does the impossible wins. At least that’s what I tell myself.

The Mind And Heart In Conflict

The steady, steady, steady, steady beat

is interrupted by a different beat,

a looser rhapsody whose rhythmic beat

is filled with interruptions, extra beats

and silences, a wild abandonment

of order, structure, pace. Cacophony

is what I hear. A jumbled, restless beat

that can’t be right. That needs to go away.

I want the beat to steady. It should be

predictable: ta dum, ta bum, ta dum;

a boring beat to fit a boring man.

This wild exuberance is not for me.

Dum . . . Dum . . . Dum . . . Stability

is what is wanted, needed. Dum. Dum. Dum.

I can’t predict the wild, orgiastic excesses

I feel. I need the metronome I’m used to.

Extra beats are fine for someone else.

I’m bothered when expected beats are missed

and wait impatiently for their return.

It isn’t right. It isn’t right. But still

I hope the beat, the music never stops.