Your poems are standoffish, he says.
You put fences around them to keep
‘Trespassers Prosecuted’ signs to keep
Your poems secure,
Guard dogs patrolling the perimeter
Snarly with menace.
Call off the dogs, he says
Open up your poems.
What are you afraid of?
People got to walk around.
Let the sunshine in.
You’re supposed to listen to your writing coach, right?
Okay, okay, I say
As I take down the tall palings
One by one.
Put up a Welcome sign.
It’s a little scary for me too.
My body alarms me.
It rings two or three times a night.
Who’s in charge here anyway?
Poetry flowed from me
Like water from a garden hose.
Days were diamonds.
My feet horses’ hooves.
Nothing defeated me.
I was sharp as Sherlock.
Prolific as Zola.
I had two hounds.
The wheels turn.
Accept, my friend tells me, Embrace.
Loss is gain.
Now is the new normal.
The bus shelter at the end of our street grinds its teeth at night.
Sometimes I sit with it, hold its hand, listen to its tale
of drunks and suicides,
of lycanthropes baying at the full moon,
of lonesome Lotharios weeping in their fists
I talk to it too about my problems
Of the jig-saw days when pieces don’t fit
Of the times when your heart races
Like a wildebeest on the veldt
But latches onto nothing.
After a while we both settle
and I head off home
beneath a lopsided moon.