Wednesday, June 15, 2005

fifty goals for a poet

Because this week is full of hope, I offer a first draft. This could be much longer--I've made at least two lists of fifty items since 18, and the first has at least a quarter of the items crossed off by now. So call me cheesy, but this is the poetic form of at least a few new items on my list with some old favorites. Please feel free to comment, critique (especially the title)--or add your own list to mine! :)


fifty goals for a poet

Own a queen-size bed and breakfast
daily on the front porch, swing
with toes pointed toward the sky,
kiss a brown-eyed lover full

on the mouth at sunset after driving
back to Holland from watching sunrise
in Wisconsin. Drive through New York
on your way to Seattle. Name grey cats

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett,
but stop after two or choose
children or dogs for future additions.
Go to Cuba. Go again. Sing outloud

in the smoke-tinged karaoke bar
and hum love songs on the empty church
pew rummaged for your painted-red
library with well-oiled typewriter,

buy tickets to Barcelona last minute,
take a train when you cannot bear
to return without a visit to Paris.
Brew iced sweet tea and write letters

to your future grandchildren,
give free room to a hopeful artist
because you were young and broke
once, too, even if you still barely balance

at month's end. Even if the list never reaches
fifty, after you have planted a rose bush
you must stand, brush the crumbs
of dirt off your fingers

and whisper a promise to keep
this plant alive though other
potted herbs shriveled at first
freeze. If you do this much,

you will know the poems
lived every last word.


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