by John Grey
Dear Famous Guy
Look I know you're busy -
what with your work and your writing
and those demands on your time
to deliver this commencement speech
and appear at that charity event -
but I was wondering if...
you're in the newspaper all the time
and on television sometimes
and you give this impression
of being always out of breath,
as if you're rushed everywhere,
the prisoner of a calendar so tight
there's barely room for bathroom trips
but you know...
well maybe you don't
because it seems as if your fame is more selfish
than any of us can possibly imagine
and it seems as if no popular celebrity
can pass through town
with paying homage to you
expecting, of course,
that you'll offer tribute in return
but if only you could...
well look at me,
my mother doesn't recognize me,
the postman delivers my mail to the
house next door,
I haven't one solitary fan
except for the overhead one
that doesn't work anyhow
and my telephone is held in reserve
for telemarketers and wrong numbers
but you, but you...
I expect there are days
when you'd give anything
to swap your life for mine -
just for the solitude, the loneliness,
the complete lack of recognition -
well I can dream can't I...
admit it, I've got you there.
Meet The Mummy
late at night
half asleep on the couch
"Abbot And Costello
Meet The Mummy"
on the television,
or was it
"a long day
meets a heavy night"
or "a break up with Lisa
meets a swimming head"
or "how did I ever get
into this mess meets
the last time I ever
asked myself this question";
but then I giggle -
it really is
"Abbot And Costello
Meet The Mummy" -
Costello's trying to
that the Mummy is
up and walking about -
of trying to convince Lisa
that I wasn't making eyes
at Veronica -
no laughs there
The Equestrian Statue
Time acquiesced to the stone-cutter's hands.
It's oblivion for the rest of us
but he cleverly inveigled himself with eternity
a hammer and chisel, the tools of his guile.
Marble had no trouble following
the instructions in the sculptor's head,
gave likeness to the face,
strength to the torso.
scale to the limbs.
Yes, man will be erased,
the earth dry up,
the blinding, blackening sun dismantle
its last remaining workable features.
But a soldier on a horse
will outride the rest of us.
It's the self-perpetuating equestrian joke.
The one who would laugh
is dead already.
Chicago In The Fall
This is not vacation, strictly business.
Lake Michigan fades into the setting sun
fifteen floors below my room.
I eat in the hotel restaurant.
My expense account prefers it that way.
The meal is mild and mediocre enough
to both please and displease no one.
I take my receipt back to the room with me.
But I'm in no mood for an early night.
So I go for a walk, coatless,
shirt snapping like fingers
in the cool lake wind,
hair blowing sideways.
The stores are open along the Golden Mile.
Tourists shop. Credit cards reverberate in wallets and purses.
I head for a blues club.
A candy-coated version of the real thing
but heaven for all that.
The bar is lined with conventioneers.
The stage is sweaty with black chords and voices.
When I leave, I stroll for blocks
with a good time ringing in my ears.
The drunks arc out by then -
the playful kind, thankfully.
Tomorrow. I'll be stuck in a room
feigning interest in a slide show
of the latest software lines.
Secrets will retreat
will determine my facial expression.
For now, I listen to the rush
of waves hitting sand.
I see lights matching it with the stars,
feel the throb of the traffic,
and the heartbeat of shoe on sidewalk.
This is not what the company's paying for.
But many are the ways
to spend their precious dime.
How To Keep It Going
A body's slow-moving after love -
its workings showering, dressing,
retreating to normal function
in front of the one who once proclaimed
that marriages need to fit from time to time
or they just fade away.
Maybe we do want to wed someone fast and feisty
but, in the twenty years gone by,
inside the polished clock of two people together
is real time, true velocity,
passion pulled along
rather than self-propelled.
Haws in the framework of permanence,
a lot less shimmying,
more and more days of just being friends.
Sometimes it seems that
we are simply here.
romance is false,
life together is determined by
our understanding of gravity,
how we redeem decay.
or keep it separate from our hearts.
What sex knows, it is afraid to share.
When we remember,
our crutch is earlier, better moments.
For you, my long-time partner,
there's nothing for it
but to grow less precious, more resilient,
be like birds,
weary of wing and tail feather,
but unwilling to end their flight..
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