Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dear Career as a Memorable Poet

I hope all is well with you.
I saw you on PBS tonight and you looked fabulous.
I’d read everything you’ve written
heard about the ashram and the awards.
You didn’t mention a lover
but you looked happy
so I’m guessing you’ve another one now.
You’ve earned what so many dream of.
It's nice to know you’re doing well.

Things are fine with me.
I have a more or less happy family
and a nice career at the college.
The obligatory house in the suburbs
and a cute dog from central casting.
Every once in a while I scratch out a poem
and share it with a few people who seem to like it.
I can’t complain.

Do you ever wonder why I didn’t choose you?
Sometimes I wonder that myself.
I recall a younger me wracked by fear.
Back then I thought nothing about
skiing off cliffs or jumping out of planes.
But the idea of not writing well
or needing years to learn a craft
when everything else came fast and easy
or writing well yet being ignored
I was not strong enough for any of these possibilities.

I was not strong enough for you.

By now it should be clear that I miss you.
How stupid is that since I gave up on you
and not the other way around?

Know this: if I had to do it over again
things might have been different.
I might have chosen you.
And right now I am wondering about
yet another possibility.
You have your life and I have mine.
But tell me, lover of my past life
if I said yes to you now
what would you do?



(inspired by napowrimo Day 11 prompt: the things you didn't choose)


  1. Oh go on SAY YES! Loved this, especially the cute dog from central casting.Loved the way you expressed this dilemma. Well done.

  2. Ah yes, I imagine my poem will have something to do with my writing choices as well.
    Great poem. What was on PBS?

  3. J.D. that relationship is hardly over -- if its love if it really is, GO FOR IT... there is no need to worry about failing, you already have by not choosing... so now that;s out of the way -- go be a poet, be a bold, crazy, untethered poet, saying what you want when you want to. After all, that is the true victory of poetry...
    ...and I loved this poem you wrote, it resonated at 110 decibels for me...
    Image & Verse

  4. Oh, I think the cute dog from central casting is quietly trying to steal the show! : )

  5. Really well done! I especially love how you end this poem asking the lover of your past what the response would be if you said 'yes' now. I'm also wondering if there isn't time for your current path and being a poet...

  6. Love the dog
    It occurs to me--thanks for the blinding insight--that poetry has more lovers than it needs and not enough friends.

  7. But still, you say only "I might have chosen you.", so the doubt lingers? I enjoyed your clever take on the prompt.

  8. Right on target, and very well written, conversational meter with just the right literary clip. George Eliot said, "It's never to late to be what you might have been." I was thinking the same tack with this prompt myself, but you already did it better. Thank you

  9. I thought this was excellent.

  10. love it -- especially the descriptions of poetry in the first few stanzas!

  11. Apparently everyone likes this one. I'm with them.

  12. What a nice tribute to an ex-lover.

  13. Love the personification of a talent that has moved on without you. You really capture this duality in an innovative and clever way. I'm IMPRESSED!

    Well done!


  14. JDM, go ahead and say yes, the muse is already there with you waiting for you to choose her.Truly, a lovely poem - so straight from the heart.

  15. This is great. You've said so much in such a short time. I'm left with no questions.