Joshua Weiner

Three Poems

The Seventeenth Blow

After years of instruction,
application, effort, and further
study of the masters;
after years of slow but steady
progress in my so-called art
and modest success
that comes from isolated acts of recognition
paid me
by those who took an hour from one day;
after years of worry and wonder
at the state of cultural production
versus the individual voice,
the national resource of understanding
escaping like neon from a broken sign;
I had finally arrived at the place
where nothing is written.
Shazam! What a relief.
I watched the tide go out,
the bread rise,
and took pure pleasure
in the middle school musical adaptation
of The Lion King. Genius
re-scaled to chaff
I was released from
rigors of the gratuitous,
unyielding, heroically
poised in the absolute
mode of change
otherwise known as Time.
Practicalities filled my day.
I paid bills when due,
replaced the head of my Sonicare
every three months,
and, when they were away,
signed for my neighbors’ packages.
Helping my wife in the garden,
the garden became sole location
of my process. I read books again
without envy, only awe.
And nothing I experienced
was put to any use
except to the degree that
in the moment
I could feel it and
feeling it
let the feeling drift away
like a zeppelin heading back to Europe.
I developed a habit
of adding
Fuck the Right
to the end of all my letters
in a font called 12-point Nightbloom
and I went without fear
of non-sequitur, everything
I touched seeming like a form
of Nature, as of now
the old saying
if I don’t see you in the future
I’ll see you in the pasture
how that equals fountains
and that eagle, for instance,
flying across the threshold span
of this open sliding door
is / in truth / far away
as a buoy unmoored from its trap
traversing the overpass
on a single stream of air
giving unending shape
at the end of my pipe
to a globe of molten glass.

              –for Bob Bailey


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