This is the only place on earth
where a soul can come to me
in winter’s deepest hold
with bedroll pieces of their lives and adorn
altars near my igneous boulders . pray
to their maker . sing songs
for their brethren . leave this time
of repentance . falling into
sleep unnoticed but celebrated
when found frozen along my bank.
I am for the romantics.
They etch lovers into my steel everyday
strolling my span gasping
for air love struck with their moment of mystery.
I am here for the other romantics
who have had their thrill of flying.
Those precious beings
who would like to try falling
we are the town of shooting stars
we collect them and tell stories
where we were when they landed
share the wishes we made and how they came true
it is the fire we memorialize with dancers and weeping circles
not the fade away
not a void in our night sky
not their troubled vanish
There they are again
in the patchy grass handing cigarettes back and forth
reciting slams. Recognizing the world
for its rhyme scheme. Sure
they look like loiterers but that assumes
There is cunning and philosophy. What else
could they be
than wanderers on the hottest day, no means
to access the river?
The air conditioner in the public library has fritzed and
penniless for stores close in on them.
One day they’d have been apprentices and trades
for their fingers learning
to be smiths. But here
we raise poets
letting them smoke away on our lawns wallowing
in the void of culture. It is their American dream
to want nothing of their country but live unasked
They have learned our stories
and want no part in creating more.
Here we raise guerrillas.
teachpoet is an imperative. A path. A righteous call. I fear I do not write enough. I fear fear’s paralysis.
I am coming to know I am a teacher first. I have not developed a writing practice in the mornings before school. I teach. Then I write. My power is in the classroom. My voice is most impressive there. I write to channel those words into my poetry. Teaching is a juggling act fit for a man part court jester, part word wizard. Part parenting, part law enforcement. Part blah, part blah.
Ingenious and incendiary. Impossible and empowering. Thought challenging as much as thought provoking. Thoroughly selfless and humbling. Not the path to riches.
The transition between teacher and poet, therefore, comes naturally. If these are my aspirations in the classroom, so they are for my words. If I can shoulder any of these descriptions, I’d be honored and thankful.
Now back to work. A poet foremost.
that tomato is a lesson of my ego
contemplating wrinkles and bruise
the one I told Sarah was delicious
because she picked it
from her vine
this fruit I brag I eat
with shirts of seed
and squirt to prove it
slow dying and desiccated
its bashful skin whispering
at the zucchini and squash
‘he ate tuna sandwiches all week
and never once sliced me,
he doesn’t care of what’s at home
if no one’s there to see it’
Welcome to the poetry blog of Ned Dougherty. Enjoy!