The Game


Visiting Hours

Worked all day and evening.
Havent seen her since yesterday.
Trundled into the house, she hugging my heels.
No time for whiskey; She has an appetite.
Order up!
Purrs and paws my pants while I take too long
to scoop her kibbles from the plastic bin.
Now what the hell, you furry fickle?
Two bites and youre scratching at the door?
Youre spayed! That tom wont take you.
But I see that the moon will. 

Aug. 13, 2013

When I wrote the above first version of this poem I imitated my daughter’s writing process.  I had an experience, recognized its potential, and immediately wrote it down.  It should be simple.
This process works well for my daughter partly because I’ve taught her to always swing for the fence.  Partly also because I’m careful to stay out of her way, and because there has been less crap in her life to pollute her perceptions.  She mostly throws down the right words on her first try.  If she makes small mistakes, they shouldn’t matter–proper punctuation is for adults.
I am an adult.  Tenderized by middle age, I don’t often swing for the fence.  Hell, my life experiences have made the fence all but invisible.  Instead of exploring my thoughts, I tend to write what I believe I ought to be thinking, or what I hope will seem to others to be good thinking.  So I must approach writing, especially poetry, incrementally.  Instead of baseball, I play golf.
Every poem has a par.  I tee off with a driver (usually hooked behind a handsome tree) and proceed toward a distant hole in fits and fights against my own mysterious nature.  A hole-in-one is theoretically possible but highly improbable.  For me, writing is a game of one damned thing after another–of seeing the light but listening for the tick of the bullshit meter.  Writing is rewriting.  Driver, six iron, wedge, putter—perception, delusion, epiphany, closure (that’s a good hole).  What keeps me playing the game is knowing the woods are full of as many flowers as lost balls.
Here is what may be the finished version of the above poem.  My daughter warned me against fiddling too much with the original.  For me, though, such weightless subjects as cats are opportunities to disregard the bullshit meter.  It’s not Eliot, and that’s fine.


Visiting Hour

Worked all day and evening.
Havent seen her since last night.
Trundle into the house, she hugging my heels.
No time for whiskey; Rosie has an appetite.
Purrs and paws my pants while I take too long
to fumble through the cupboard, shuffling beans
and soup and sauce to finally find the fish flakes,
and bend to scoop her kibbles from the bin.
Order up!
Now what the hell, you furry fickle?
Two bites and youre scratching at the door?
Youre spayed! That tom wont take you.
But I see that the moon will. 

Aug. 17, 2013

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