Inhuman Swill : Poems : Page 3

Time is not on my side

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time is not on my side today

instead it's hanging above me
like a Damoclean sword

or gaping at my feet
like the very jaws of hell

no, time is not on my side today
unless time is a spear

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milepost 0

a bike towing a dog with its hindquarters on a cart

a totem pole

a line of hand-holding kindergartners being urged by their teacher in French to move quickly across the path

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Like writing a bicycle

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Is a lot like
Riding a bicycle

Not because it's so easy
To get back up on

But because
Flying along
And you go farther
Than you intended to go

And you have to
Turn around and take
Yourself home

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Biking on Bryn Mawr

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Biking on Bryn Mawr Avenue,
clear sky, afternoon sun,
I pull over to the curb
for the ambulance
hurtling my way.

But it turns on Clark,
and as I pass through
the intersection I see
the gapers gathered,
the body in the street,
face down, lying twisted
like a crash-test dummy.

I have to look.
But I can't look.
I make myself not look,
face forward into traffic,
lest I become the thing
I gaze upon.

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Some poems

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Some poems come all in a burst,
Flaring in the brain nearly complete,
Nearly perfect.

Should the mind mistrust them,
These gifts, seek the flaw,
probe for holes?

Twist the knife in their bellies
Until they holler uncle,
Change their tune?

Or are they sparrows, breathing
Mysteries that can only fly again
If left untouched?

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Old man walking an old dog

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Old man walking an old dog

Not so very long ago would have been
Old man walking a young dog

Not so very long from now might it be
Old man walking a young dog again

Once upon a time might it have been
Young man walking a young dog

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Lost things

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On my walk this morning
I encountered lost things
here and there:

A glove.
A key ring.
A hearing aid.

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La sagrada tarea

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Today I read
about a man
who has spent
the past thirty
years writing
someone else's
And he's still
not finished.

Not to quibble
with anyone's
life's work, but
that's a lot of
years to spend
on somebody
else's life.
I'm not sure
I've even spent
that much time
on my own.

How does that
even happen?
A random turn,
a shiny detour,
and suddenly
you've walked
a hundred miles
in someone
else's shoes?
Too late to
turn back, the
only way out
is through?

No doubt my
own devotion
to invented lives
in invented times
and places
would look as
puzzling to him.
What, reality not
good enough?
Earth not room
enough for you?
I guess not.

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14 Februarys: A Sonnet

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Our first Fourteenth we went to Brooklyn's best
New restaurant. It seemed we walked for miles
Through freezing cold, but I knew by your smiles
I'd chosen well and you were well impressed.

Our third Fourteenth was filled with wedding plans.
I'm still not sure who popped the question first.
By Fourteenth number nine we were immersed
In thoughts of westward roads and moving vans.

Our tenth Fourteenth blew prudence to the sky
With fourteen courses served by silent staff.
Such frills on this Fourteenth? It is to laugh.
We're happy to stay home and order Thai.

My Valentine you've been, the count now stands,
Two times for every finger on your hands.

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I am
a writer
a blogger
a podcaster
a programmer
a designer
an inventor
a collector
a cabinetmaker
a bowler
a moviegoer
a foodie
a traveler
a tinkerer
an atheist
a priest
a curmudgeon
a felon
a photographer
a chauffeur
a skeptic
a rube
a ruffian
a layabout
a lurker
a dilettante
a poseur
a pundit
a primate
an ancestor
an earthling
an alien
a canvas
a convenience
an improvisation
an illusion

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William Shunn