Posts Tagged ‘poem’

Speak To Me

May 15, 2009

You hoard your words like a thin-lipped miser,
as if you’re afraid of spending your treasure,
and being left empty pocketed.
I try to pull them out of you, cajoling like a carny barker,
trying to separate you from your cash.
Who told you that words
were to be doled out like quarters, one at a time?
I’m an interviewer trying to coax the answers out of you;
an attorney cross-examining.
Should I give you truth serum?
Just once I’d like to see you open up your wallet,
spend some of your words.
Don’t you know you can’t take them with you when you’re gone?

I spend my words recklessly;
like I just won the lottery.
I’m lavish with them, I’m generosity itself.
I’m always chatting, yakking, talking, confabulating, blabbing, gassing, nattering, palavering. I’m promiscuous with my words,
I use them in dangerous combinations, I throw them like glittering coins into the fountain and make wishes with every sentence.
Ask me a question and I’ll give you three different answers.
My stories never end.
I go on too long, I know. People’s eyes glaze over.
I can’t help it, I’m word crazy, and
I can’t turn it off.
So I keep talking, fighting against the silence, filling up the air
between us with torrents of words.
Enough for both of us, and more.
Don’t mind me, I’m just talking to myself.
It’s better than silence; at least I think so.
Only sometimes, I wish you would answer.
I wish you would throw me a penny or two from your fortune of words.
I’m spending all of mine, you see.
Some day maybe there won’t be any left;
And then you’ll have the bankruptcy of
silence to
comfort you.

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No Longer There

April 28, 2009

The school I went to as a child is closed;
all the classrooms shuttered.
The schoolyard where the boys played keepaway, stickball, handball, or
had endless arguments about who was the greatest
baseball player,
and where the girls skipped rope, played hopscotch or tag, or
told breathless giggling secrets about the boys;
abandoned.
The house where the nuns who taught us lived
is being rented out.
The rectory, where the priests lived
is an office building now.
The church, where I got in trouble as an altar boy for
a joke I whispered during Mass,
is rarely used.
Changing demographics did it in.
Enrollment was down,
costs were up,
The diocese had to cut costs.
The brick building sits on the hill,
smaller than I remembered it.
“There’s where I went to school,” I tell my children
as we drive up the street.
“It looks old,” says one.
“What an ugly building,” says another.
“Can we go home now?” says another.
I consider stopping the car;
maybe there’s an unlocked door.
I could walk in and explore;
take my seat in one of the old wooden desks
and try to remember the joy of being
eight years old again.
Instead, I drive on;
Knowing it may be years before I get back here.
By then the building may be gone,
razed and replaced by houses, or perhaps a shopping mall.
All the memories scattered.
My children don’t care about that;
they have the casual ruthlessness of youth.
The present is all that matters.
This building is an interruption to them.
For me it’s still a quivering, beating living thing
That’s diminishing in my rearview mirror.
“Wait,” I say, turning the car, “Let’s stop here.
Just a few moments.
Just a few moments and we’ll leave.”

A Man Of Many Interests

April 23, 2009


By John McDonnell

I’m a dabbler at heart, you see,
and there’s plenty more to me
than meets the eye.
But then you know I
never said I was a simple chap.
You can’t put me in that trap.
Subtle, that’s me, and complicated.
Not loud, a bit understated.
Preferring not to be a star,
or the loudest voice at the bar,
I’m happiest in the back,
not in front of the pack.
I get distracted easily, my mind wanders;
there’s always some other question to ponder.
My reality abounds in
complexity.
I know I should settle down and focus;
establish a locus
for my interests.
But every time I try
something bright catches my eye,
and I wander off, wasting time
on some new project without rhyme
or reason.
There’s so much to learn, I’ve always felt,
so much living to do as well.
Each day should be an adventure,
otherwise you’re just an indentured
servant, hemmed in by your
small horizons.
Tomorrow’s another day and
no way I’m going to get distracted
from my goal. I’ll attack the
day with vigor, discipline and
rigor;
at least until a bigger
shinier something comes along and
catches my I.