Sunday, May 30, 2010

Breath of a May Night

a motor vibrating deep within me
desire is paving roads
my phone number is trapped
in a woman’s purse

my heart recollects its many molts
it says Tonight I’m your slave
I’ll do anything you want
I say Sure but don’t call me your baby

a moth fires up some grass
as it circles the porch light
stumbling lost around the moon

I have this poem dated 1991 but I was busy with college work that year & it feels like a year later. I was making fewer poems, enjoying them more, was coming to a much more expansive view of the poet's role in the community. I was itching to do some informal, creative short prose, like a newspaper column, an opportunity that came later that year. I'd tried teaching poetry in schools, done alright under the independent tutelage of a personal friend, but when I signed up with the official state program, which was being run by theater people, not poets, I was taken away from her & handed to a much older mentor with whom I had zilch affinity - & said so, was thrown too soon into an impossible solo assignment that I screwed up but never found out how, & quit because I felt I was being trained & used poorly. The owner of Pearl Arts had noted my interest fixing up the dismal book dept, although it didn't pull together into real art book area for a few more years. Pearl was accommodating to my WFMU radio schedule & days I took off for teaching, & I liked the hours & coworkers. Strange time. Even met a few women through newspaper personals, but as a writer, radio DJ, underpaid retail employee, I was too peculiar for suburban singles. I strongly sensed a girlfriend was on the way, all I had to do was be patient & wait for her to appear.

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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