This next poem is, in my mind, inextricably linked to the At Fifty piece I posted here last. That’s because it was written only a few days later and in direct response to that first poem. That bit of elegance I found in the first poem sort of scared me, and I had to reaffirm my reality of jeans and t-shirts, lest someone get the wrong impression. Poems are born for a variety of reasons, even the business of staying honest and correcting the trajectory of ones own truth. This one needs no explanation and is also another of my favorites. It was published for a while on my Splitting Darkness site, but never anywhere else.
Down Beneath The Roots of Things
Am a North Wisconsin hillbilly.
Prefer t-shirts and jeans
even at age fifty-plus
and would rather be fishing
than almost anything else.
Can still spot a ’57 Chevy, up on
blocks, glass packs rumbling
through backyard weeds. Ignorant
of politics, don’t do arithmetic
unless I’m being short-changed.
Choose flannel over silk, actually
drink cold milk, but only
on rare occasions. Beer
and cigarettes add spice to a life
devoid of deliberate vice, fattened
on peanut butter and jelly, laughter
that starts deep down in the belly,
then ripples outward to be shared
only with a few close friends.
If reincarnation is a fact, hope
I come back as a gray and black
badger. Bit of a grouch, who with
low warning growl, and fast rambling
slouch, is swift to defend her underground
den, down beneath the roots of things.