This Is Not One Poem, It Is Five

I. 

What better symbol could there be

For my life? For this being, me?

Than a daily task many days undone,

A race of single steps un-run.

Nobody ever wants to look

In the crossed out pages

Of their address book,

Where the friends I never met

For “lunch sometime”

Are always waiting,

Dying there as the ink fades

On dates I didn’t keep.

Memories I never made

And excuses

Are all I’ll have someday,

Along with just 25 poems,

One for each day in April.

 

II.

All of them are about you.

All of these awful poems are about you.

Not to mention every song

On the goddamned radio

And every movie I end up watching

After the night has turned

Into highway noises

And ticking clocks.

I spend so much time

Wishing I could just leave you,

Like an old coat on the train,

Like some poor kid at a gas station,

That I forget

You already did that

To me.

 

III.

Remember that scene in The Princess Bride

When Buttercup finally decides to kill herself

Rather than marry the evil Prince Humperdinck?

If not, you really haven’t seen it

Anywhere near enough times.

I used to be Wesley, impotent but superhuman,

Heroically lying on the bed like a dead fish,

Speaking up in my incredibly dashing baritone

About the current market price of perfect breasts

And the malpractice of skewering them with knives.

Now I am Humperdinck, reviled but strong

And I would gladly take blade myself

And plunge it between the ribs of beauty,

If it weren’t for the blonde man between us

Reminding me that he is the hero

And I am the villain.

 

IV.

On Saturday I took a hike

To a place I’d been before.

There were others with me,

But I alone made my footprints.

I’ve often heard people say

“Every journey begins

With a single step,”

What is not so often touted

Is that every step after,

From the second to the last,

Is just as long as the first,

And just as necessary.

Miss just one and I fall,

And the rocks will greet

Any bone as gladly

As the tarsals and the metatarsals.

And then the journey

Must begin again,

And torn skin and bruises

Must be carried

Each step of the way.

 

V.

Hope is knowing that tomorrow

Will be no better than today,

And going to sleep anyway,

With a smile on your lips,

And the whisper of a song

You’ve often sung before,

Oh, hard times come again no more.

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2 thoughts on “This Is Not One Poem, It Is Five

  1. if your absence produced something of this magnitude, ’twas an absence well spent. this also reminds me of the talk we had that one night with the guitars and the dim lighting.
    it’s good to have you back, Dan. :)

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