I remember sitting in Mrs. Lyons’
classroom reading something by Carl Sandburg
about cats and fog. Some kid next to me laughed
and made a quip about Kansas basketball.
A girl whined about having to read poems.
I was inclined to agree. Our teacher huffed
and puffed and told us to turn our textbook’s page
and there it was: The Love Song of J. Alfred
so-and-so by the only poet who ever
made good money writing poetry – T.S.
Eliot. I remember reading that and
thinking, “This is what I want to do the most
out of all the professions I can choose from.”
Back then I was full of hope. “Do I dare? Yes.
By God, I am going to be a writer.”
I said that to my reflection many times.
I might as well have decided to be a
rodeo clown or a riverboat captain.
Telling people you want to be a writer
is like saying you want to be a ninja.
They just kinda look at you strangely and nod,
a little smirk creasing both sides of their lips.
Telling people you write poetry is like
saying you work at a leper colony.
They begin to back away from you, slowly,
for fear you might decide to recite a verse.
Sometimes I lie awake at night and hear them
softly snapping their fingers at the Gaslight.
Maybe I should have gone into construction…