I hate it when poets write about their kids, but I’ve become one: You might detect a little Larkin in one of these, so I figure if he can do it (about Sally Amis), so can I.
as she watches through the window
Pap-Pap, Huckleberry Hound
hat on, shovels snow
off the back deck, and I wonder if
this memory, of all the others,
will be her first, like Daddy
walking down the hill from the rental cabin
to take me home, or my towering
grandfather clucking in the pearled pink snail
of his teeth, looking down and saying
“You Dutchman, you.”
Not some special time, I hope,
not Christmas day nor candle-snuffing third
birthday. There are kids, I guess,
who live in a money-feathered nest
of Magic Kingdoms, Disney days
and firework princess nights,
the jingle-belled hooves and snowy thump
of Santa’s’ boots on the roof, every day
three-rings of enchantment until, inevitably,
the circus leaves town.
I hope for her instead some
banal but beautiful image,
okay, maybe snowy, but also
Huckleberry Hounded, just another
life, usual, boring, ordinary, magically
At the Writers Conference
This is the stage where I can’t wait
to see Boston, becomes I can’t wait
to get home, and why oh why did I come
in the first place?
Did I really want to go back to butt-
numbing 45-minute sessions all day
at this Annual Convention of Silly Hats
and Ill-Judged Artistic Attire?
Or did I think someone would offer me
a blow- or teaching job, a book contract,
or discover me like some wanna-be-starlet
spinning and smirking on a soda-fountain stool.
Finally, all this hoopla and high-mindedness
came down to a lobster roll and some tandoori chicken
for this hick from the sticks and the tapped-out steel mills.
All I’ll take away is not more talent, nor even knowledge,
but ten pounds and depression, lightened only,
by this poem, light-weight enough, I hope,
to clear the ground and fly me down from this oily
Olympus with its twelve-dollars-a-pop nectars,
to my humble home, home-made martinis,
and mail-order movies where the werewolves
make bones of boors and bores,
and the zombies are too busy to write.
© 2018 William Greenway
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