Forced By This Title to Write a Poem in Third Person About Himself, the Poet Considers the Phenomena of Standing Waves, Dreams Involving Long-Lost Cats (Even If He Has Not Had Such a Dream Himself), And the Amazing Durability of Various Forms of Weakness

Forced By This Title to Write a Poem in Third Person About Himself, the Poet Considers the Phenomena of Standing Waves, Dreams Involving Long-Lost Cats (Even If He Has Not Had Such a Dream Himself), And the Amazing Durability of Various Forms of Weakness

Five White cat always made sure no rats gnawed my books.
— Mei Yao-ch’en

His brain is squirming like a toad.
— Jim Morrison

Standing by the water, the poet wonders if,
as in this dream, his dead dog and Five White

might seize the separate ends of a rope and blend
their tugs, matching highs and lows, growls and purrs,

with near stillness, dawn to dusk and back again,
always equal, sharing through death their love

of work and honor. He throws a small branch
and asks the dog’s ghost to fetch, but it remains

at his side, as if reluctant to leave. How to release
what you no longer hold? Shadows disappear in direct

light, but always return at its departure. The
raindrop remains intact through its long plummet.

Words, though unspoken, hang like lofted kites
awaiting a new wind, a separate rhythm,

beyond compassion. He cannot hear it
but joins his dog in singing. The cat yowls along.

 

This piece first appeared in deLuge in fall 2016, and was drafted during the August 2015 30-30 challenge. Thanks to Jeff Schwaner for providing the title (which I edited for publication).

31 thoughts on “Forced By This Title to Write a Poem in Third Person About Himself, the Poet Considers the Phenomena of Standing Waves, Dreams Involving Long-Lost Cats (Even If He Has Not Had Such a Dream Himself), And the Amazing Durability of Various Forms of Weakness

  1. “How to release what you no longer hold?” sinks from the center of this poem like an anchor, mooring it to the shore, like the mooring of a dog’s ghost to a poet’s side, the heart’s mooring to the rhythms of a silent song, and weakness’ tether on the soul that is nothing if not the epitome of strength — all of which begs a response in the form of another question, *Who’s to say you must let go?*

    Indeed, not I. 💖

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I confess in college I wrote a one-word poem with a ridiculously long title for the student newspaper’s arts-and-writing section but also figuring that if the editor didn’t take it I could use it for the humor section anyway. The editor liked it, but at first thought it was an untitled piece with one long stanza setting things up and the one-word closing one. When I explained the joke, he actually liked it that way, and I’m still not sure how I feel about something that was kind of a prank even if it was also about a particular scene I had lived and the feeling I had during it.

    Liked by 1 person

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