When I Grow Up

When I grow up
I think I’ll be a poet
and sit in my study
with my tea and my typewriter
and share my wisdom with the world
I’ll have a cult following
be a celebrated nobody
that English majors will recognize
in the coffee shop a few times a year
and be just as poor as I am now
but with a check in the mail from my publisher once a month
I’ll wear knitted vests and old blazers
and people will listen to all my bullshit
and pay me $300 to speak at their conferences
I’ll give the same advice writers have given since the beginning of time
but people will listen to it
because I said it
and one day when I’ve retired
and nobody has noticed
someone will pick up a tattered copy of my life’s work
from the bargain bin for fifty cents
and want to be just like me.
My driver’s license says I’m almost 30 now,
but I still plan on growing up someday,
and when I do, I think I’ll be a poet.

a question

are poems ensconced somewhere inside my mind
like some hidden treasure I’m trying to find

or demons we summon with blood sacrifices
an addiction we feed with the rest of our vices

from erudite sex after months of gestation
or some kind of socially safe masturbation

are they sculpted completely in only a moment
or are we shaping slowly and don’t even know it

is a poem a seedling becoming a tree
or some captive bird that we have to set free

for some, I suppose, it’s a source of contention
but I think that most poems start out as a question.

Two little girls

Two little girls went out for a walk
in the chilly autumn air,
and they gathered handfuls of leaves as they talked,
and the leaves were as gold as their hair.
They followed the path that cut through the park
and wound with a slow little creek.
They never minded the frost on the bark
or the cold wind that bit at their cheeks.
They fed the ducks leaves from the withering trees,
but the ducks didn’t seem to care
I said with a sigh that ducks didn’t eat leaves,
but the girls only wanted to share.


The tattered man fidgeted, uncomfortable,
with the noose around his neck and his hands roughly tied.
His gaze moved nervously around the square,
searching for eyes he could look into
to plead for mercy, or at least compassion.
He found there neither.

A pale preacher stood and read aloud the sentence
in a flawless, practiced, scriptural voice:
“You are hereby charged with heresy
for claiming that God does not exist.
For this crime you are to be hanged to death.
Do you have any final words?”

He nodded eagerly.
“Very well, but choose them wisely,” the priest replied.
“For they will be your last.”

He looked out hopelessly into the silent crowd,
and said in a croaking, timid voice,
“I didn’t say that God does not exist;
I know as well as you do that he does!
The question is:
Did God make us, or did we make hi-”

Either way, the man was the first to know.