Friday, November 02, 2018

A Thousand Should-Haves

—Anonymous Photos
—Poems by JD DeHart, Chattanooga, TN


I'm tired of riding the waves
of other peoples' feelings
to decide how I feel about myself.

Drops mic...remains seated.

Is there anybody else with me?
You don't have to answer that.

It's a stance I'm taking today,
a rainy morning in the autumn.
That moment when you decide
who the fingers point back to.

A solitary figure (who is, let's be
honest, not so solitary at all)
on a lonesome landscape (I'm
at a Waffle House, really) deciding
to stand up and be (and what else
to order in the meantime).



And what are these accolades,
many tiny figures I line up
with golden hue?

A kind word spoken
or misspoken based on an
assumption or gross

What's the value of it?

Award-worthy, or not, I will
not raise my hands in a laurel-holding


Like some animals, I must
adapt.  Rather than the usual
tusks and trunk, a mound of protective

Rather than my usual large feet,
a few sharp claws to traverse
the climate.

Rather than being bitten by the cold,
I thicken my skin
to rest in its icy invitation.



A web bonds
the twigs together, bringing
the pages of the pine
into a closed system.

I wonder if what's inside
is the size of my hand or a pindrop
of danger.

Being brave, I move on
instead of finding out.


I'm still a comic book guy,
even in my late thirties.  It
started when I was barely
an embyro, I'm sure.

I used to fill empty pages
of notebooks with squares,
then infuse those spaces
with badly drawn characters.

Since adulthood, it's still
about filling spaces.  Figuring
out the right images to
include.  I wanted to be a
superhero.  I'm something else,
I think.

No costume here, but I still
read about those who are
brave enough to put them on.



I’m sorry to make
you cry when I told
that joke about

It seems so silly now,
like most things do.

Other words I have forgotten

(like pessimism when I
was defensive, riddles
that drove my audience crazy,
the sly comments I would make
to not-so-deftly avoid insult)

but I remember the lovely
smile that became tears.

That day, we shuffled on our
way, but seven years later
I have to reconsider.  I have
to wonder what ever became
of the girl who was on the other
side of that jab.


As always, my love,
I find myself returning to words
I muttered years ago.

A thousand should-haves
and my work to perfection
never done.

Declarations when I was too
young to know what declarations
were, or to understand the weight
they carried.

Nevertheless, my feet
have brought me to this good
and guided place, a situation
I would not change.

Thankful for the small mercies
of a grounded decision.


Today’s LittleNip:

—JD DeHart

The flapping tongue
who stands at the front of the room
before all the Emerson roving eyes
trembles through articulation
being careful not to salivate.


—Medusa, with many thanks to JD DeHart for today’s fine poetry!

  Putting on the Costume...
—Anonymous Photo

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