if a poem by Heidi Robertson
if a poem were a puppy, I’d never let go.
if a poem were a teacher, would she bravely say, “NO!?”
if a poem were a person would she friend or foe?
would she tug-o’-war words? would she leave or stay on?
in the end: only change
on for hours, adds more cream for reduction
keeps just the right temp
stepping, lining, swirling, lofting
bringing her to a bowling royal softball stage
revision upon revision
until a slab of buttery sweetness
wrapped in sweet caaaaaaarahhhhhhhhmehhhhhhllllllll
if a poem were a tenant would he pay for brain space?
would he fire up the grill, down a cold one,
or in case, the long sprawl balls up, six hundred bucks short
will he hold up close-blinded with convention’s cohorts
Try to grasp the problem with diction and rhyme. No use.
It bleeds truth where high tech suture glue won’t hold.
In the end you’re on your head, butt up in a parking lot
and all the reusable grocery bags in Park City and Colorado
won’t deliver what you want or need.
poems in your head get away
blow willy nilly to the landfill
while one is lodged between car seats,
up-dog with receipts, paying transient tax
if a poem were a bouncing child would she ask you to play?
cry jubilation or fall rainy day to dodgeball
Would she stay on the fence, rather than risk rejection?
for a month some worship all things poetry
glorying Oliver, Strand, Neruda’s socks, Keats
you track in, week two, in sweat shorts and muddy cleats on a sunny day
the contest said a poem a day, you paid the money
after thirty years, does any of this matter? maybe
knowing poems are indifferent to catch and release
but you are moved to write anyway
in the end all anyone wants to hear, to read, to write is…
you are beautiful, needed, useful, loved
still you wonder
can a wild thing be loved beyond catching, touching, naming?
there is no taming it
“Try as you may,” the wise say,
“There is no holding on, so do it for the joy.”
If a poem were a critic
could it bring itself to say, shoe on the other foot,
“Clean it up!”
or would it hang the UDOT placard more softly
Surveying with binoculars
Sizing up a safe scene, the rolled semi drooling a puddle?
What would a poem see in authenticity and form beyond a ton of kitty litter?
hazmat day was yesterday
today all things are new! Woot Woot!
we read, we write, we smile, we sigh,
go home with hand-outs
realizing we’ve left a space we’ll likely never occupy again
like yellow legal note pads waiting a second read
let it go
then off to a second and third job
bussing tables, pushing a yellow cart
partner with mop, and broom while streaming bag liners keep time
She hangs the sign like tomorrow’s school schedule
“Closed For Cleaning”
which makes passer and poet panic cuz we need to go even more now
from drinking too much coffee and thinking poetry
she holds her tongue
graciously waits the flush and hand wash
the passing feet
the door swing
then she cleans up as if we were some of her own kids at home
so we can play