Who hasn't this nightmare of forgetting an inspirational word or phrase happened to?
As often is the case…the “word” that beckoned came at dawn, and…as the slave this made of me…I rose to heed its call.
The early morn intruder that aroused me from my sleep was begging for appeasement from the room just down the hall.
Self rebuked and chastised for the many times I’d lain and disregarded - recklessly - the little voice I’d heard,
I stumbled down the hallway, and I slid into my chair, then cracked my knuckles wide awake, and pounded out…the word.
The uninvited word…that found its way into my head. The alphabetic prowler who’d intruded on my dream.
The tiny bunch of letters that would disrespect my sleep, and join, without permission, my creative writing team.
Ordinary? Yes! But tiny universes dwell in certain words and phrases we all use from day to day.
And…as a poet…I’m inclined to meld these little bits to cast the clear and simple “desperate truths” I mean to say.
? Every language has them. They are common…and routine. They’re easy to pronounce…and understood by one and all. And I will always ply my trade in verse with “simple terms,” to forge my gems of wisdom, in the room just down the hall.
A Writer’s Lament
Here’s a common story in the world of would-be writers. There’s not a thing about this tale that…sadly…isn’t true.
Your manuscript is finally done, you’ve proofed it several times, and, after waiting several months, your editor is through.
You try to represent yourself to publishers you feel are sure to love your work- based on their advertising claims -
Only to discover that they’ll only take submissions from writers who have agents…or already famous names!
The mem’ry this evokes in me is terribly parallel. So clearly I still see the fleeting figure that I chased
That Sunday afternoon we gathered, as we often did, to play our favorite football game: “Two-hands-below-the-waist.”
Only nine showed up that day (we almost played with eight), but brother, Marty, called a friend, and so, we had our ten.
We became concerned when Marty pointed at the end zone and told the guy,
“If we can get the ball to there…we win,
“But…if somebody touches you - two-hands-below-the-waist - you have to stop…the ‘play’ is done…and then you start again.
In 4 attempts we need to move the ball down 2 white lines - to get another 4 attempts… it’s called a - ‘first and ten.’ ”
Everybody realized this guy had never played, but Marty’s team would get him…after all…he’d called the guy.
They could only hope he’d do the things they told him to, and probably felt that…if they lost…he’d be the reason why.
I remember, vividly, quite early in the game (it couldn’t have been ten minutes since the playing had begun),
They sent him down the field about ten yards to catch a pass. He actually caught it pretty clean…and then began to run.
We’d fin’ly lost possession only ten yards from their end zone, so…consequently…Marty’s guy had ninety yards to go. I thought I had him cornered when I went to make the tag, and how he got away from me I swear I’ll never know!
But “get away” he did…so there I was, in hot pursuit. And, as it was expected, I was quickly closing ground.
After all…my room at home had trophies wall to wall, and most of them for track…I was the fastest guy around.
But as I tried my best to close the gap on Marty’s buddy, (and I was running very hard I thought my lungs would bust),
Just as I was getting close…he shifted into high…and even at my strongest pace…he left me in the dust!
A very average looking chap…he didn’t seem the type…yet, there he was…the fastest guy that we had ever seen.
The makings of a super star, yet no one knew his name before the day he blew our minds…and that is what I mean
When I proclaim the foolishness of closing ears and eyes to anyone because you simply…do not know their name.
Those you’ve never heard of might contribute something special, and I assert, it’s often wise to…let them in the game.
The Poetry Book’s Lament
As the browsing customers go drifting ‘round the shop,
I watch them roam the section where I’m plainly on display,
And I am so annoyed by how they very seldom stop,
As if they have no will to hear the words I have to say.
Can’t they see me sitting here? Here among my peers?
Standing side by side with other offerings such as mine.
It seems as though we’re crying out with voices no one hears,
To see the way they rarely even pause to read a spine.
Many years ago - back in a softer, simpler time -
And on a more discerning - and a very hallowed shelf…
There were always vacancies for finer books of rhyme.
But no one here can blame this sad disinterest on myself.
I’m a first edition, and I know my work is good.
I’ll sit here ‘til they throw me out, ‘cause I don’t really care.
You really ought to read me, and I promise - if you would -
You’d find I actually have some quite intriguing thoughts to share.
Why I Prefer to Write in Rhyme
When it comes to poetry, I have to disagree with persons who consistently impugn
The bards who pen their thoughts in rhyme. Those poets who prefer to focus on not only “what is said”,
But - just the same as virtuosos - when they play their part - are keen to know their instrument’s in tune
Would rather hone their every line and symphonize their words - to make them more like music when they’re read.
PS: I now have 4 new Audio-CDs of my verse on ebay, for those who like to listen, and travelers, and at www.writerofbooks.com, - Mark
Copyright © Mark Stellinga | Year Posted 2021