A native of Johnstown, NY, I retired in June 2016 after 29 years of teaching writing and literature at Ripon College in Wisconsin. I've published six collections of poetry, including Stutter Monk and Second Wind; I also co-edited (with Kate Sontag) the essay anthology After Confession: Poetry as Confession. Essays, reviews, and individual poems have appeared widely, both in print and online. In recent years I've spent nearly as much time on photography as poetry. A gallery of my work is online here: http://instagram.com/doctorjazz
Things I Hate
Yes I hate diesel fumes, neon shaped like beer cans,
gutters full of dogshit and toy dogs obediently squatting,
icing smeared and dried on a bakery’s glass case.
I hate the crows who perch on powerlines critiquing
the day, and the day that fulfills their prophecy.
I hate the chirpy zest of country life, too,
scum and duck shit fringing the romantic pond,
the utterly random clouds unleashing or not
upon the boring unscripted lake. I hate with a hate
that shapes trees and weathers rocks smooth.
I hate waking up and going to sleep, hate mooning
about in hope of some bedplay, and mooning more
when my wish is fulfilled; hate this and hate that,
a board game always missing a piece or three,
whose rules no one knows though everyone claims to.
Toupees of all kinds, expensively fluffed or glued
and miscolored, and the men who wear them.
And of course those who hate the men that wear them,
yes, those most of all: mockery’s minions,
never giving anyone a chance to hate something first.
What I Really Hate About Clouds
What I really hate about clouds
is not their wispy, diplomatic dampness,
not their here-and-gone refrains or the sullen cast
they give the garden;
I don't even truly hate their puffy white Santa beards,
though I say I do, and I'm agnostic
about their sneezing sleets, their wretched
and ignoble pissing mists falling all over my face;
no; what I truly hate about clouds
is how, after sending shadows puppylike
up the mountain as if a mountain were nothing
(loaf of rising bread, or dented pillow),
a cloud will hurl its shadow right down
the other side of that mountain, no fooling—
the already dark side where I've never been
and very likely won't ever go.
©2016 David Graham
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