Saturday, June 27, 2009

*The Card Trick

Here's another one about my father. With fatherhood so imminent for me, I guess the topic is no surprise.

The Card Trick

I never understood how it did it.
The day was cold and rain spattered down
occasionally onto the windows of the kitchen.
The sound was metallic though the windows were glass.

We were sitting in the living room.
I was twelve, he was in his forties I guess; what
did his age matter to me then.
It was midday but darker than normal
because of the overcast sky.

He had the deck of cards in his hand,
all but the one card I held in mine.
It was a queen of clubs, and it was mine.
I possessed it. I had chosen it randomly
but it had become mine and I loved it like a
long-absent child. My queen of clubs.

He couldn't have known. There was no way.
I was careful to pick it at a random spot from the deck.
He never saw what was in my hand.
But, on command, when I walked into
that kitchen and looked where he told me
(in the freezer next to the ice cube tray)
the small square paper clearly said,
"Hi Joe. You have a queen of clubs.

Somehow, he had added one plus one and
proved it to be three. I accused him of cheating,
though I didn't know how. I checked the deck,
but it was the same we had used to play rummy
just days before.
I demanded to be told how he did it.
He refused, saying something about
magicians and secrets. It was only the second magic trick
I ever saw him do, and he has done no others
in the twenty years since.

And he will still not reveal it to me.

Friday, June 26, 2009

*Three Flopping Fish

Sometime during the forth month of this insanely difficult pregnancy, my wife described the feeling of begin pregnant with triplets as "fish flopping around in a bag." I thought that was the most beautiful thing I'd ever heard. So came this:

Three Flopping Fish

that's what it feels like.
three fish flopping in a bag.

How am I supposed to understand
what creation feels like, really?

She grows,
every day.
She's bigger and more radiant.

I've put on weight too, but I am neither
glowing nor radiant.

Is that creation?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

As Yet Untitled Work in Progress

Since I haven't posted in ten months, I expect exactly nobody to read this. But that's okay. I've been going through some pretty serious family issues lately and been coming home at night and falling to poetry for some comfort. So I thought I would post something that I've been working on. I don't have a title yet.

"You'll have to sacrifice your wife," he said.
My wife?
"Throw her right into the fire."
But why? I said.
"Then you have to get drunk," he said.
"Very, very drunk.
Maybe even stoned for a while, but
that's not as important.

What? I said.
"...If you really want to be taken seriously," he said.
I do.
"Good. Now, go try to get your father to kill you."
My father?
"...Or your mother. But father's work better. Either one though."
Either one?
"Unless one of them ever hit you...?"
"Or is dying...?"
No, I said.
"Oh," he said. "either one then."

Slight pause.
Okay, I said.
Let me go get my pen.

I've realized how unrealistically lucky I've been in life. I have two parents who love me and were (and still are) great role models for me and my brother; I have a wife who is everything to me; I have a good job that I love (most days); and I have three babies on the way. I've never struggled with alcoholism, drugs, gambling, wars, poverty, incest, cancer or any other common trait among successful writers-- which is part of the reason why I'm convinced I'll never win a Pulitzer.

And from the above comes this poem. I wonder to myself quite often if I have the necessary life experiences to be a successful poet. Have I hurt enough? Have I suffered enough? Honestly, I don't think I have. And I certinly don't want to start now.

I guess I'll just take my chances and stick with living a good, happy life. If that's not enough to make my writing better, well... I'll deal with it.