another way

I’d drive them out of the city

sensation seeking students

& sometimes aspiring ne’er do wells

who the city wanted put straight

driving out to nature

where I’d walk them down a trail

to a full green valley bowl

scatter them off to disperse

find a spot by themselves

just sit for a while

four hours maybe five

until they heard the come here whistle

& some would come back too soon

unable to be alone

to be set back off again go complete

& at the end of the exercise

some would complain

of the tedium boredom isolation

the long dragging day

others would say felt like minutes

& the long drive home

was full of silence as the experience

of no phones no tv no people

just sitting by themselves

settled into their bones

now they knew

there was another way

the all of it & that

they said they were looking for talent

while I was looking another way

something that might work to capture me

I got the high priests of poetry

understood the all of it & that

the rhymes they were setting out to do

while I was searching the streets

listening to what they called low lifes

spitting out their heart felt poison bars

crazy at what had been done to them

poverty pain prison working blues

the nearest I got were the war poets

& even then the lines they sung

were distant detached highbrow lost

I was looking for words that hummed

sang of me & you walking broke

unable to eat the high yellow sunset

worrying about the shoes on our feet

hanging on in until tomorrow comes

but that don’t sell in the bookstores

draw in the crowds make fortunes

help make my teachers & me to meet

the ask had gone another way

it was time

time for me to go

had outstayed my welcome

stayed in your bed too long

the sheets had turned grey

as the sky overhead

in your heart head

points between

turned cold against me

& there was nothing to say

the ask had gone another way

your face no longer to mine

tho’ I tarried in hope of a thaw

your door was closed against me

would not open warm no more

& I’d like to say I went easy

but we know that’s not true

the road seemed unwelcome

the path grown over to my feet

so I stumbled groaned

moaned my way along

but if that hadn’t happened

pushed me on at that time

I would not be here