I am the whiskey sloshing in a keg
lashed to a mule and bound forever West.
My muleteer has one eye and one leg.
Sooner than you, he’ll lay me down to rest.
II. Daily Themes
Al Melting had one ink pad, it was red,
only two stamps. One was the F, one A.
A small mistake, and student, you were dead!
Moorhead High School learned to compose this way.
Circles on every blot on daily themes:
write every night? On what, we asked our teacher!
He was the demon in our sophomore dreams,
the Moses from our mountain, but a preacher
whom any bright fifteen-year-old could reach.
For forty years, I didn’t dare to teach.
III. To My Rare Readers
I’ve reached an age
when it’s hard to get up in the morning.
This is a stage
you can’t pass through till you are scorning
the long march through your graduate review.
I’ve reached a rage
wished on no other. It is a churning
bound to the blank page
I cannot disengage, a turning
from me to you, as in my youth I’d strew
daisies and lilies for the likes of you.
IV. The Nick and Dick Show
Come lay a long level on both men’s heads,
the bubble meets the middle. They are tall,
and I their chronicler am pretty small,
only five ten when I am wearing Keds.
Meeting of very old and very young,
ninety and twenty-five, I’m having fun
like Feeney quartering before my gun.
Surely my young friend’s verses will be sung
with Dick’s. That is the purpose of this trip:
the countries of the air mapped by a whip.
V. Prayer for the Poets
My poet friends aren’t on a first name basis
with You, Spirit, but love them all the same.
All are the Servants of the Secret Fire,
soloists destined for our Savior’s choir.
Scorching their brains with Pentecostal flame,
cast them from their stupor, from their stasis
of the spirit. Find my pagan friends in sleep,
and plant some metaphors so true, so deep
they will become the promises we keep.