The Extroverted Introvert

hours of unhappiness
the words I find on the sidewalk
on walls
on the fuzzy writing on the face of the moon
with some great Shakespearean empyrean importance
while in truth
what we have is a diary, memoir
bowl of alphabet soup
that many an editor finds lukewarm
at best
and damn, and it is right,
they want steak or a vegetarian’s equivalent

taking my wares
(read “attempted free verse”)
door to door
getting the polite
“sorry we will ‘pass’
good luck at the next door”

I walk down the pavement from each house
hungover with clouds of disappointment
and some bystander might say
get rid of that “disappointment”
it is an abstract idea
killing your poetry
it tells me (the bystander)
not shows me
and you are just an amateur poet, buddy
thinking too damn much
and look at those who write the whimsy of their hearts
in hardened red gelatin-sugar-fat (whatever)
laced with tangy cinnamon
packaged in cellophane
and marked
Valentine candy
it is love, baby
it is the writing of poetry
that you can taste
not this scribbling on torn out loose leaf
this two-dimensional quick sketch
almost etch-a-sketch
lift the magic curtain
it disappears

so much unhappiness
trying to be more than ordinary
trying to achieve some great goal in life
and I chose poetry
can’t draw, can’t sing
can’t hit a baseball
not fast, not stoic or mad enough
to take the football hits or sort out ball-carriers
and stop Brady or Cam
no, I’m snake-bit with language
can’t throw disparate images together
the living dead
with life occasionally
not consistently
and so a failed self-taught
going for broke with cheap toys
(read “poems”)
that may be therapy
or scribbling
Cy Twombley’s Iliad*
and affixing
networks of meaning, emotion
as if the poem’s wiring lit a house
but the sparks hardly burn the hand

hours of unhappiness
because too much was expected
(didn’t rewrite enough?
too philosophical—-whatever that means
too much dictating
to all the readers that want
Rorschach images
so they can relate
not be preached at)

you aren’t nice anymore
a self-centered
Woody Allen in the corner
without the wit
okay, some
but what sad eyes you have Grandpa
what cuticles you stare down at
what prepositions you
attach and dangle
from your self-assertions

and it is because
you think your life is better
(comparisons are insane)
than your fellow-poet’s, reader’s, appreciator’s
of Wallace Stevens, Derek Walcott, Chuck Bukowski,
Zeke Bratkowski,
Stanley Kowalski……

you have replaced the myth of God
with the myth of Shakespeare
and nobody but you
the words pepper down
like snow
they overdose the ground
your soul is eaten up by disappointment
and how do you reclaim
what you deemed important
is not
you are too social, too needy
to be self-contained

you can’t read the Desiderata in a mirror

(Banner photo credit – Dietmar Rabich,, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons.)