I have been writing light verse all my life (assuming one’s life doesn’t include junior high school, elementary school and the wet diaper stage (oh, not that again!) ). I sent out a lot of light verse and when it all came back I tried my hand at free verse. I like writing bio notes my favorite being “Edmund Conti lives in Summit, NJ and divides his time between day and night.” Can’t use that anymore—I moved to Raleigh, NC. I’ve had over 500 poems published (Google “Edmund Conti” and see what comes up.)
Just So You Know
I am not Billy Collins.
Just because we are both poets
does not mean I am Billy Collins.
There is no way I am Billy Collins.
For instance—cirrus, nimbus, stratocumulus.
Collins knows the names of clouds. He sees
galloping herds of albino bison or possibly,
just possibly, marshmallows fluffing.
All I see are horsies and duckies. And of course,
there is the matter of the Poet Laureateship.
Not that he lords it over me. I’ll give His Lordship that.
Just a quiet unassuming guy. Like me.
He and his crate of mandarin oranges and
Russian novels. And me? Well, that’s it.
If I have a ancient mourning vase from the Xin
Dynasty (and I do) it stays on the mantel
and not next to an album of Bix Beiderbecke
casually left out beside the half-finished
bowl of cornflakes and Belgium strawberries.
But that’s Billy Collins. I’m not him.
And he’s not me.
I Could Write a Sonnet
Another day in one’s retired life:
The waking up. (We thank the Lord for that!)
The breakfast on the table. All non-fat.
The coffee. Orange juice. The Times. The wife.
Except, of course, it seems there is no Times.
We left it all behind to come down here.
We left the winter’s snow (or just the fear?).
We thought we needed balmy warmer climes.
I take a sip and look up at my spouse.
She nods. We never should have sold the house.
Outside the sky is Carolina Blue.
I concentrate on that because it’s true.
We’ve reached a stalemate in our endgame.
The friendly South where no one knows your name.
There Used to Be a Title Here
I remember when Robert Rauschenberg
knocked on my door and said
He wanted to erase one of my poems
Come in, I said.
I showed him this one. It wasn’t going anywhere.
Editors had already told me that it was existential
in form but without any redeeming content.
(I’m paraphrasing, of course. Editors aren’t that glib.
Or informative.) He looked at it.
Didn’t read it. Just looked at it.
Looks good, he said and took it.
Is there a moral here?
I hope not. Anyway, if there was one,
“There used to be a Title Here” was first published in in Studies in Contemporary Satire (1996)
© 2017 Edmund Conti
© 2017 Edmund Conti
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