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...
Timothy Murphy’s books include Mortal Stakes and Faint Thunder and Hunter’s Log, both from the Dakota Institute Press.
Tweets by @commonwealmag