END of my SUMMER CHALLENGE
I have some leftovers in the box,
things I was sure would go somewhere,
but didn’t, not yet, and maybe never will.
I was telling Wally about them
on the porch last night,
how each bit,
when it came,
seemed full of possibilities,
but when I came back to it,
no next line appeared.
No next word.
This morning it seemed right
to sweep up the crumbs,
to share a few and say a little about them.
Everyone’s quick to blame last week’s storm,
but it was like this before that.
This is about a tree limb
hanging upside down and dead
over the sidewalk
at the corner.
but not completely,
back in June
and seemed poised
to fall the rest of the way,
possibly on someone’s head,
at any moment.
Only it didn’t.
Some say it was the big storm a few weeks ago.
Some say the storm before that.
I know the real truth
which I’m keeping to myself:
It was like that before either storm.
But here’s what got me,
how content people were to stand around
and weigh assignment of blame
rather than addressing a thing.
Have you noticed?
Anyway, nobody wants to tell
the neighbor whose yard it’s in,
given the long history
of what disputes over trees can lead to.
I thought it made a statement about the human condition.
This came to me in church
when a lady in the same row as me
had a sneeze like a shotgun
and it scared the life out of me.
I never heard anything like it.
Seriously there was no wind up,
no advance notice.
I thought I might be able to use the expression somewhere.
Probably not. Maybe if I was fiction writer or something.
On a scale of 1 to 10,
how crazy is it,
to have one’s nose out of joint
over not receiving an invitation
one did not wish to attend anyway
and had spent two weeks
amassing a list of excuses not to attend?
True story. I’ll not expand.
And then there was this sing-songy rhyming stanza
that came all in a moment one night last week:
How is this thing going to end?
Where is this thing going?
Would it be any help to me
if I had the knowing?
I almost never rhyme
unless I’m making up a song for a child.
Indiana Back Roads
Returning to Louisville from Bloomington
where Notre Dame beat Stanford in men’s soccer,
2-1 in double overtime,
the winning goal on a free kick,
we skipped I-65
and came the back way
where the corn and sky and farmhouses
reminded me of almost every other place I’ve lived
and I was free of the “tyranny of thinking,”
an expression I was introduced to last week.
Awash with thoughts of those former homes
and summer trips to my grandparents, too,
I thought I could write a poem about.
Nothing came. Just peace.
And that was enough.
Happy Labor Day!