September’s Poem Early and Maybe I Can Actually Learn This One

Here is what my brain downloads as I type the date: My sweet, slightly grumpy son turned 22 on Friday, (his girl friend, whom we adore, and has been a long-time family friend, made him a party and baked him a cake). I got the country house back from the wonderful magical renters, (they left flowers, candles, children’s art on the fridge, and a chocolate cake. Did they rent or did I give it to them?? ) We rented the apartment to more family friends and the cute seniors in college are moving in. She had me from I would love to learn more about gardening and could help. ) Then I think about my lack of job. My children have jobs, the grown-ups do not. Then I ponder how much I would hate having to live full time in the country because it relies on cars. Then I think I am a spoiled, hateful creature, who should shut up and find my grateful bone. Here I stop because I came  to confess to my lack of learning poetry during July and August.

Even though I gave myself two months to learn what I can usually do one, nothing really penetrated. Well the Whitmanesce , is htat a word? notion thatI AM LIMITLESS alternately entertained and berated me. I nearly wedged in the opening stanza about being unafraid as I am preoccupied with my own being. Although as I look back I see it is actually:

I NEED no assurances- I am a man who is preoccupied of his own soul;

I do not doubt that whatever I know at a given time, there waits for me more, which I do not know:

I also see that the portion of Leaves Of Grass I was attempting was called Faith and I know I am of late, Oh ye of little faith. Really I am losing my way with believing that I will find work. I do not doubt that I will work. I am renting out rooms everywhere I can. I am posting to baby sit. I am open, put me in coach as they say. Where I have lost my way is in the belief in my future. I seem to have done well or well enough raising my kids, but I forgot to continue to raise myself and as the world rushes past and I see that others see me as past the sell point in the super market of jobs, I wonder if I will get bought on sale or if I can reinvent myself as a vintage something or other.

And so with no answers to the big questions life poses I will jump back into poetry with a poem by Mr. Billy Collins who seems to posses an ability to laugh as himself. That will get me through this next month; and my 60th birthday marker.

The Trouble with Poetry  by Billy Collins

The trouble with poetry, I realized

as I walked along a beach one night–

cold Florida sand under my bare feet,

a show if stars in the sky–

The trouble with poetry is

that it encourages the writng of more poetry,

more guppies crowding the fish tank,

more baby rabbits

hopping out of their mothers into the dewy grass.

And how will it ever end?

unless he day finally arrives

Where we have compared everything in the world

to everything else in the world.

and there is nothing left to do

but quietly close our notebooks

and sit with our hands folded on our desks.

Poetry fills me with joy

And I rise like a feather in the wind.

Poetry fills me with sorrow

and I sink like a chain flung from a bridge.

But mostly poetry fills me

with the urge to write poetry.

to sit in the dark and wait for a little flame

to appear at the tip of my pencil.

And along with that, the longing to steal,

To break into the poems of others

with a flashlight and a ski mask.

And what an unmerry band of thieves we are,

cut-purses, common shoplifters.

I thought to myself

As a cold wave swirled around my feet

And the lighthouse moved its megaphone over the sea.

which is  an image I stole directly

from Lawrence Ferlinghetti–

to  be perfectly honest for a moment–

the bicycling poet of San Francisco

whose little amusement park of a book

I carried in a side pocket of my uniform

up and down the treacherous halls of high school.

One response to “September’s Poem Early and Maybe I Can Actually Learn This One

  1. Poetry shares infinity with the swirling waves. There’s a job for you riding on one of them and in the other of them.

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