Of slogging and bad poetry

Because I am a blog slacker–a slogger?–I have allowed such trivialities as pneumonia and a cat with an infected foot to distract me from blogging over the last few weeks.  For some reason, picking back up feels a little like driving a stick shift again after over a decade.  Frankly, I don’t remember how.  So I am copping out and posting a poem.  This is a cop-out because I don’t write poems, and it would probably be wise to insist that I didn’t write this one, but I’m not feeling particularly wise at the moment, just antsy about not having blogged in a while.  Feelings of blogbligation are settling in, so it’s best to just bite the bullet and post something.

I used to write poems.  In college.  For a couple of months I fancied myself A Poet.  I showed my poems to An Actual Poet.  He returned them a few days later.  The first comment, at the top of the first page, was “I hate this title.”  That was perhaps the most flattering.  So I swept up the pieces of my soul and stuck them back together with a glue stick and wrote poetry the way some people smoke–alone, in the dark, consuming large quantities of mints to cover up the stench of bad poetry on my breath.

I see dead people.  I’ve been seeing Keats and Yeats for years.  These relationships are admittedly a bit one-sided.  I’m obsessed.  Perhaps it’s because my career as a poet was not unlike that of a lemming–spectacularly brief and disastrous, and more hilarious than tragic, in retrospect.  Except to me and the lemmings.  But I love poetry.  I love it the way a lemming might love the space shuttle–from a distance, and in awe.  With maybe a little fear and envy mixed in there, too.

So, in trying to figure out how to get blogging again, in a slackerish way, I decided to double-dog dare myself to post a poem that I should not claim to have written.  Unfortunately for this particular poem, it emerged a few months ago in my head rather than in someone else’s.  I was thinking about connections (another obsession) and how we long for them and yet sometimes can’t quite get there.  So here is a poem.  It doesn’t have a title, for obvious reasons (see paragraph 2).  And it is not good.  Clearly, it is also not real, because I do not have a daughter and silence is not loud and socks don’t actually get tangled up even though stockings do.  But I double-dog dared myself, so I have to do it, even though this kind of feels like those dreams where I was in the shower and suddenly found the shower transported to the middle of the school bus.

I want to tell you

everything–

how the fog tumbled down

the mountain,

twining against my thoughts.

I want to tell you

how our daughter came running,

every filament of hair

on fire

in the morning light.

I want to tell you

secrets–

the name of the moon,

the artifacts of childhood

tucked in a drawer

behind a tangle of socks.

But how can I tell you

the sound of the river

at night,

in winter,

when I curled myself to his side

on the hood of his father’s car

and we sat there,

in the silence too loud

for words?

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