it’ll come to you

somewhere out in the woods

by the thin river

I found the old man

sitting loose

leaning against a stump

whittling on a piece of tree

he smiled asked of me

you got any water son?

so I settled nearby

I’m making me a stick he told

to help me get out of here

ran out of water

kind of everything really

I thought I was easy

forgot I was no longer spry

the things they don’t tell you

about this getting old

is it all catches up on you

taking an easy walk in the woods

becomes a trial

something life threatening

y’know?

but I was young then

could only smile offer help

he took the water

& fell into step

as we walked out to safety

for him

while for me it was only

to a place I’d been

to the very core

even though she was rotten

to the very core

fucked around on me

her other men

I could not quit her

until I did

& then I missed her

in my very being like

holes in new wood

damp beds in winter

ripped patches of wallpaper

books with the end pages

torn out

I’d torture myself thinking of

the way she bent at the waist

stood in a room of people

to glow out

crouching to cuddle a child

any damn thing she did

& I wanted her

ached to do things with her

knowing I was sick

for letting her hurt me

but wanting more

just for the few good times we’d had

there was no doubt I was one sick puppy

licking the hands of the beast

holding the stick

& I could not not think of her

until I could quit this sickness

as I sat

hoping time would be the cure

one night howling

out in the deep woods

sucking on the booze

clearing my head of the city

the shitty stuff we do to each other

in the sadness of living & wanting

compulsion came to write something

all I could find was a stick

digging into the soft sand

lit in the thin light of the moon

sonnets stanzas slick couplets

dragged in the sand & gloom

feeling good about the dust raised

words carved into the earth

finally falling onto the same dirt

to wake one eyed wondering

what had survived the night

& the glory sight of the stick

still standing right & upright

footsteps everywhere clouding

seems for every one thing I wrote

I’d stamped all over that for the next

to drag in another note to self

& if that ain’t a metaphor

whether for the impermanence of life

the majesty of the poet drunk

mebbe don’t drink & drive stick

transience of the written word

maybe nothing is

y’see what I mean?

fella was raggin’ on me

seems like he thought

I was all misunderstood

on purpose

to be difficult

where I thought his stick

had no need to be waved around

tell me again, please

& he overexplained

about my poor attitude

I was dragging everything down

by asking questions

all the time

& I said it again:

if it is as true as you say then nothing

I ask can take anything away

& if I’m pulling it down

then that too is an act of creation

surely out of the rubble

the new true comes?

y’see what I mean he said

eyes all big busting & red

you think you’re smart

but all you do is nay say

& nothing gets done

& honestly

I was thinking that was projection

but that it was probably best to leave that

quietly echoing in my head