five poems by Jack Myers
On the first day, the Master said to his students,
"After you have considered the chair you will sit in
as you have considered your life in relations to others --
who has more knowledge than you, who has less,
whose life is better, whose is worse;
in other words, whether it would be better to be
the nail, the wood, the glue, or the varnish --
you may be seated."
My son is playing baseball.
He misses a high pop-up
and feels bad.
Then he strikes out
and we both feel bad.
But since when has paying attention
and doing well always been good for me?
I ask my dog who looks up to me
as we walk through traffic
"How many tragedies have I escaped
by not paying attention?"
My son's errors at play
are moments of pure air and light.
Isn't that what missing is?
That seems just as lovely and interesting
as getting it right.
Shoe Lying in a Pasture
The look in my dog's eyes seems to say
she remembers being human, the way a leather shoe,
discarded in a pasture, feels the place is strangely familiar.
Poor thing, continuously discharged by her senses
at the slightest movement, her liveliness is the thing
that distracts her from her life.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the leash,
her master lives like a blind man
bumping into the clutter he has made,
complaining of the things he bumps into
and not his blindness.
I've pumped up the air mattress
with little puffs of breath, just enough
so I can float.
That's very interesting, but not enough
to make me permanently happy.
If I had something bigger and invisible
to blow into,
I wouldn't need the raft.
Copyright © 1997 by Jack Myers
The Optimist, The Pessimist, and The Other
One believes the cup of desire
is studded with jewels
that turn out to be holes
he pours his desires through.
The other, who has been through this,
desires to pour forth his story
again and again, as if somewhere
there were a hole in it.
And still another, who seems quite ordinary,
sees the cup of desire is not out there, but within.
He says, so what if it has holes in it.
Jack Myers' latest books are Blindsided (Godine, 1993) and a chapbook of new poems, Human Being (Rancho Loco Press, Dallas, 1997). He teaches poetry writing at Southern Methodist University, in the Vermont College M.F.A. Program in Writing, and is President and co-founder of The Writer's Garret, a new Dallas literary center His and The Garret's E-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Poetry selected by Michael Simms:
Mykie Reidy | Samuel Hazo
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