A New Poem

Poetry is not my life

Ferllenghtti sits perched atop the bathroom radiator
And I savor a page every time my body recycles
Thanking God for the openings and the hollow places
And the subtlety of uncapitalized letters
Though a dozen boxes of notebooks with scribbled fragments of verse
will crush you if you attempt to open my closet door
Poetry is not my life
Though there was a time
When I left my cozy air conditioned world
rode a beat up bicycle to the dangerous part of town
Picked through dumpsters to find relics of reality
Searched for poems in the broken glass under the train tracks
Talked to old folks, whose bodies reeked of ten varieties of decay,
Whose untreated wounds had festered, discolored,
Whose rotted teeth clicked a different rhythm for each tale,
The young people called me ain’t from the ghetto
And that, too, I made into a poem
Poetry is not my life
What is?
Let me begin by saying that I’ve changed a thousand diapers
A real man changes a thousand diapers
But my beloved changed two thousand
So I best not open my mouth
Poetry is not my life
I pay bills for natural gas
I insulate the attic – it’s itchy
I work in front of a computer screen
I wash out the thermoses from the kid’s lunchboxes
Poetry is not my life
Thank God I have money
I like those English water crackers with a slice of fancy feta cheese
And my children have health care coverage
And I can do my laundry in my basement
When you have too little or too much
Money plays with your mind
Since I have some money
Poetry is not my life
My life is taking the shortcut through the tire store parking lot to catch the train
My life is trying to change the world by making minor adjustments
My life is trying to get my kids to finish their Cheerios
Oil changes
Dental appointments

And though I wish I could end with irony
Poetry is not my life