Today's poem is by Charlie Smith


I'm not saying I'm confused by the way a flock
of blackbirds makes me think
an organization's moving its headquarters,

but I wonder about the elusive silvery momentum
of certain fish, animals
avoiding sunlight, the way a river cracks

open into white, discursive signatures;

I'm not opposed to valuable heirlooms
found tucked in a sack of potatoes,
the cleric's garb and two-tone shoes
in the whore's back room;

I'm not surprised at wasted days,
whole seasons spent in the wrong house;

I've positioned myself near the suicide's regalia,
the sharpened blade, the pistol, the noose
(I like to poke these items with the toe of my boot);

I've taken the measure of certain lost causes,
resisted in a quiet way the release

of records that would shed an unhappy light on the case;

I've half-deliberately lost my way,
exchanged pitiful glances, curried favor
with undeveloped bloodlines, dogged it;

I've compared notes with fools and found myself wanting;

I'm not claiming a special privilege,
I don't want my back pay;

I caught myself staring into a barrel
and was unable to confirm what I saw there;

as in the misplaced manifesto,
I'm sure there is meaning,
and I know it's sometimes more interesting
to stand in a road than to move along it,

though even this, said with such confidence
just a minute ago,

explains nothing.

Copyright © 2006 Charlie Smith All rights reserved
from Crazyhorse
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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