New poems by JD DeHart
Poor me, I have an arrangement of friends
but I slip in and out of the world, because
their faces are mere fragments arranged
as pixels on a webpage.
Are they real? Are those their kids?
Poor me, I have pretended to read so many
classic books that now I only have a half-
knowledge of the ones I have actually read,
the Victorian slipping into the modern,
and the modern sleeping over with the post-
modern. To say nothing of Shakespeare.
Poor me, my stomach threatens to eat
my spine, not out of hunger but out of spite
and how will I stand with no spine, and how
will I continue to speak with no stomach.
Poor me, I am the son of leisure, the brother
of pardoned sin, and the nonchalant cousin
of hard work only as a phrase, not as any real
kind of truth or solid footrest.
Fish Bones & Cold Woods
That tiny tickle in the back of the throat,
the filets clearly holding tiny bristles,
like the spindly teeth of a brush.
My father casting his bait into the river,
magic being of the outdoors,
my brothers trumping along behind him,
carrying their tackles and gear.
I, nearby, reading a novel,
only one time hooking on through the head
not by bite but by accident.
Comfort creature, nestled cozy
in the hospitable environs of a hotel on vacation,
not sitting alone in the winter woods
waiting for an animal to pass by.
Elsewhere, someone sights a gun or dresses
a deer, but I am by the fireplace.
You Knew Me When
You knew when the only music
I knew was what had been passed own,
and the only voices I knew
sounded too much like my own.
Their rhythm was what I pretended to be,
and I quoted movie lines incessantly.
You knew me when I saw life only
through my narrow views and gave
everyone a barrier to exist in, typified
every soul I met. I soon learned that history
and people and everything else is more
complicated and only partially revealed.
Life is not what I saw on the screen.
I probably owe you a multitude of apologies.
You knew me when I thought it was still
important to know all, never grasping the limit,
never realizing that the other adults
played their own game, and that what was here
as enough without a laundry list of trivia,
never appreciating the I have not read or
I have not seen that requires courage
or the simple phrase, I do not know.
The Digital Age
When I was your age, I tell them
(which always, always induces a groan)
and then I recount the use of a paper book.
Now I can download and stream reality
as much as I please or displease.
I can be the avatar in a historical or futuristic
world and need not worry about starting
the game over next time. Auto-save, baby.
I can spell correctly always when typing
but when writing, I am not so sure. Sometimes
the simplest words do not look rite.
And yes, that was on purpose.
I once knew a few people, but now I barely know
thousands, and once had a few bits of literature,
fragments of thought, but now can touch centuries
on my worn-out keyboard.
Pilgrim, adapter, progenitor, whatever,
because I can only trust less than half of it.
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