Bio Note: This month I continue to offer poems on personal subjects, told in the first person. The older I get the more my thoughts drift back to my beginnings. I still write one story a week for The Boston Globe, and I’m hoping to see a couple of works of fiction accepted by publishers see light this year. For garden photos, short lyrics, and whatever else I’m up to, see my blog at prosegarden.blogspot.com.
I Banged Up the Car
The tale I am hearing is all too nicey-nicey Why is everybody crying? And they keep telling each other that they love each other as if this somehow were news, or a message from the gods My mother and I never once in our lives said ‘I love you’ I never used that word, not once in my young life spoke the word aloud until my high school girl friend positively made me say it (on pain of not getting any) Say You Love Me Why? Just say it. Or I’m going… I never told my father anything The word ‘love’ surely never arose in any single conversation in our lives together, in part because we never had any conversations such as those I read in the tales of others My parents never talked to each other either (not about anything beyond present exigencies), at least in the presence of younger ears I just can’t do all this warm emotional expressiveness And – crying? Now that I am old I cry all the time – at movies, at the TV, over lyrics penned two centuries ago, and though nobody ever makes any kind of deal about what I do, the folks in the tale I’m hearing, both hale and hearty – and young – keep breaking down over practically nothing, which somehow bothers me Oh, to tell the truth, Dad and I did have to talk a few times It was after I banged up his car Yeah, I did that… more than once
Walking the Loop
Going down is fun, easy even, the whole forest seemingly our own. But what worries me is the price I’ll have to pay on that long uphill. What do you get when you walk downhill too long? A comeuppance? Reassurances suggest themselves: Getting older is simply getting younger going backwards. If you're heading to the end, you must be getting close to the beginning. Finishing the course simply means waiting for the next round to begin. Finishing swiftly means your circles are speeding up – and going around in circles is all you need to do. The path is all there is.
‘I Am Impressed by the Sheer Persistence of Nature’*
They cut down a Paulownia tree, she wrote, as if corresponding from a higher address or a locked closet in my own thoughts: ‘There was absolutely no need to kill it.’ In my city (yours too) they cut down trees on the slightest pretext, or, op. cit., for no cause at all. Yet another valediction to forbid mourning for the end of the race. I struggle to understand what we are directing our higher energies to accomplish. What was Bach thinking? Shakespeare, on the surviving evidence, thought about property values in the old hometown, his daughter's prospects, a family crest. I think about those I would choose to eliminate, on evidence available to all. Happily no one is offering to make me pasha, or vizier, or chief of police. Save my trees, I would tell them, but some of these old goats are expendable. * Jane Miller, “At Home,” London Review of Books. 4 June 2020
©2021 Robert Knox
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell her or him. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is what builds the community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -JL