Toward a finished poem

I’ve been feeling like a suburban home,

family-bound, dog-eared, cat-haired, dust-bunnied.

The floor sprawls, covered in lines of loosely connected

bits of string and tape, shoes without mates,

things without name or purpose or place,

shoved in too many drawers, beside stray Tupperware lids

unsure where home is.

I’ve been thatching a wayward garden,

long since surrendered her virginity to the fate of

time and neglect. Her gnarled roots now

the bed of fools – those with nothing to do 

but wait for another dry Spring and

long, parching Summer to follow.

I’ve lost the memory of how to cultivate in her

whatever tempts or teases a solitary bud.

I’ve lost my place in the song,

where happy, drooling drunks drop their lines

of sprawling melody, disconnected from time or tune

or taste, but dripping, soaked in the solicitude of friends.

Old lyrics lie waiting for my attention,

faithful old soldiers of forgotten wars,

older still, fought on fields among the family

of tables and tumbling talk, well-practiced lies

in well-memoried songs.

I’ve been acting like a poem in progress –

a toss-about of lost words, tongue-tombs tied

together by accident in a free-falling frenzy.

Outdoor syntax lost in the mall,

painted-on ivory-tower lips for her rent-a-friend parties.

The ironies, playground of op-eds and writers of no

fixed address, wasted in wordless

sentences no one can read.

 

But the best poems are never really

finished

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