Michael L. Newell
I live on the south-central coast of Oregon. I am a retired English teacher who lived abroad for a third of my life. Most of my time is spent reading, listening to a wide assortment of music, and walking everywhere I go, as I do not own a car. Fortunately, the town in which I live has both a river and a large creek flowing through it, is surrounded by forested hills, and is close to the Pacific Ocean. As a consequence, walking (even in the frequent rainfall) is a pleasure.
for Joseph Glaser
I walk miles each day to stay alive.
Despite your doubts, this is no jive.
Walking past rivers and creeks, I see
herons, otters, ducks, and deer — no jive.
Ambling into the library frees me
from noise of traffic, trains, and all that jive.
Midnight walks remove people from view,
and I relax, freed from all that jive.
We used to talk, rambling rap, for hours
on midnight street corners. We really jived.
Admit it Newell, your mouth and feet both
love to ramble. I tell the truth. No jive.
Perchance to Pollinate
How trivial all words must seem
tossed into the air
and blown far and wildly far
and whozit over there shouting punctuate
punctuation is linguistic gravity
oh heavy thought oh heavy deed
while whirling overhead children explore all verbal space
fearless knowing no rules but the abandon of the lift the drift
of the mind's trapeze
the flip and fall and somersault of the clown
oh wild oh freely fallen oh grandly gesturing the lion has eaten the tamer
and we we spend days on end worrying over a comma a period a deadline a social
gaffe we we spend our nights mesmerized by what we have not done in daylight
damn it all "damn everything but the circus" the clown the high flyer the fat lady
the wizard snapping his whip in the center while life surges in every direction and all in
attendance hold their breath
every comma every period every quotation mark
let them find a home in the stratosphere of life
where they mean whatever we say they mean
let us pack our bags hit the road discover whatever is loose in the universe
let life goose us freely and wildly and let us leap over skyscrapers when she does
ah do you hear the carousel's song summoning us to whirl through the world
over the next hill we may find chaplin the marx brothers w c fields
fields and fields of clowns we may find us returning from a lost childhood
His walk, a clock slowing
in its arc toward stillness,
clumps awkwardly in dissolution's
direction without awareness
of anything but where the next
step will be placed to avoid
stumble, tumble, or face first dive.
He hums the brindisi from La Traviata
and surprises himself with a slow
pirouette which ends with him leaning
against a wall, smiling, and waving on
the young couple who stopped nearby
in concern for his well-being; being touched
by their awkward desire to help, he thanks them,
and lurches in their wake, silently laughing,
and wondering if it is possible
to be intoxicated by song lyrics. A cold sun
lights his path homeward. He resumes humming.
©2016 Michael L. Newell
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