Today's poem is by Paul Gibbons

How to Do It

Know what a mule
sounds like when it paws hard snow
at three in the morning. Find a spot,
like Jefferson in the flaw
of the Capitol rotunda, that lets you know
what the other side is planning.
Move away if anyone
suspects. Start weaving whatever
you're given. Repeat as needed.
Chekov to friend:
if you give me a bottle, I'll write
a story titled "The Bottle." The flaw
is that he was drunk when he gave
advice, sober when he wrote.
And what about what his advice says
when he writes it in a letter?
That mule's broken through.
He's found the flaw in the crust
to find out what the frozen
grass is planning. At sunrise
he'll be far afield and nowhere near
his discovery.
                    Know what a mule
sounds like when it's hiding
its discoveries. Follow its tracks.
Do it with whatever you're given:
a stick, a piece of toast, three jackets
found at the roadside. Wear them
and forget about the smell.
Repeat as needed. Friend to Chekov:
your money or your life, you're
holding things up. Chekov to friend:
do you know what you sound like?
Of course it was in Russian.
Know how wonderful it is
to be listened to anyway. Move away
if anyone suspects. Soon you'll
pay attention to people paying
attention. It's what you are given.
Like grass sealing itself in snow,
you'll already be planning for someone
or something to clear it away. You know
you'll be exposed. Like friend to Chekov:
You'll dance with me until I say so.
And like Chekov to friend: do not read me
until I am gone.

Copyright © 2008 Paul Gibbons All rights reserved
from Bray
Elixir Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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