The Innisfree Poetry Journal
by Rich Ives
THE SUPERIOR TALENT
for Gerald Stern
I am a talented man. I can trip in the driveway
with no apparent cause. I have a weak ankle
that betrays me. I can fall hard enough to die.
And I can get back up and not die. I can do that.
And I can do nothing for long periods of time.
I can do that very very well. And I can stay
inside for all that time like a child with its
first toy and I can be happy and not know.
Sometimes I look at the night sky forever
and I think, I should be up there farting around
and seeking the truth. I should be discovering
the meaning of something important besides myself.
Another thing I can do is pass twenty-three kidney stones
one right after the other, a little army of them marching
one at a time right out to my bladder and past, not knowing
it's one flood after another and their kind is doomed.
I'm afraid of needles, even pine needles. I do that well.
But my heart is strong. It puts up with a lot of crap
and it cares for silly little things that others
take for granted. It’s good at sighing and thumping.
I'm good at sleeping but not at schedules. Sometimes
when I'm supposed to be sleeping I write poems and
I might be sleeping when you think I'm working or
paying attention like right now while I’m talking to you.
But my real talent is discovering talent. I have found
talent under rocks, fleeing, with too many legs and
I have found something like talent taking its time
in the vertical gait of a cedar heading for the clouds.
And there's more talent than anyone, even you, can imagine
inside the gawky vehicles that challenge us in mirrors
and sit at desks and carry us around. I'm still discovering
how many unexpected songs rise from the smells.
This means, of course, that you too are talented
and need only uncover the deeper odors others may already
be aware of. Celebrate your genius. After all, you read
this poem and didn't once think I smelled better than you.
Copyright 2006-2012 by Cook Communication