Wednesday, June 26, 2019

My Tangle of Vines

—Poems by J.D. DeHart, Chattanooga, TN
—Anonymous Word Bubbles


Travel with me a moment
into a place where our thoughts
become action.  Yes, this sounds like
the introduction to a ‘60s science fiction
series.  Pardon me.

There are some ideas I wish to
keep secret.  They are my tangle of vines,
grounding me in reality.  Reminding me
that I don’t have to throat-punch someone.
All I have to do is smile, listen, nod.
Adjust, move on.

But I love comic books, how
dialogue happens.  The lines are dotted
when the characters whisper, or
the words begin to fade.

I can see, in a cloud above
someone’s head, their inner truth.
This might come in handy, but is there
a way to turn it off?  Ever?


And this is why I love
film.  No one stutters
unless they mean to.  They
represent themselves in the best
take of all.

I am a silent performer.  When
I drive down the road, I belt out music
like a professional.  I wish I
hadn’t told you that.

In my mind, there’s an auditorium.
Figures from my past sit and listen.
Wow, are they impressed.  In my
hypothetical universe, I’ve always got
the perfect line.

How often do I get to enact
it?  Almost never.  Rarely.  Sometimes.

Maybe it’s the audition
that’s worthwhile.  Or maybe one too many
long walks in the woods, meditating
on the structure of stories I would one
day forget.


I’m tired of the high-minded voices
I know talking about not being of
the world.

Like, what does that really
mean?  I’m the substance of this known universe.
I have dirt under my nails.  I eat from the ground.

Get used to it.

It’s not that I disagree with their stance
on life, the universe, and a number of ideas.
I’m all for grand philosophizing.
I’m just rooted in this place.  I know where I come
from.  It’s not so bad.

The earth of the mountains and the concrete
of the urban jungles are full of truth.
Or something like it.

Let it ring like the chiming of the car
behind me that wants me to move on.

I don’t want to move on.  Let me take
in this roadside attraction.  Stop for some
chicken that is so cooked it will kill me.

Now, that’s the world. 


From the flashing pages of my youth,
I have wanted to be in a comic book.

I designed my suit, considered my powers
and weapons.  I imagined a damsel in distress.
Even thought of my perfect lair.

On my swing set, I would consider this
universe of my making.

I set about on notebook pages to construct
a story with myself as the heroic center—
but age and time wore these dreams down.

I began to see myself as a character whose
bright intentions were mingled with dark ink.

No one needs to be the hero all the time,
or so I reasoned.

Nevertheless, even today, I sometimes yearn
to see myself as a protagonist in my own story,
written or visual.


Is it possible?

Yes, child.  It is possible.
I’m living proof.
The past does not matter
all that much.  We press

But, what if my decisions
come back to haunt me?

I say scare your own
hauntings away.  Those eyes
that judge you have their own
list of wrongs.  Listen carefully
to the anger in their words.
It’s pointed back at themselves,
like toenails that grow too long.

What do I do to be free?

Just be.  Fully who you are.  This
new day is a thousand years from
yesterday.  Breathe.


Today’s (Longer)Nip:
—J.D. DeHart

Just as one poet
once wrote about a last
duchess, so did the poet
write about the first Wilbur.

The brown clothing, smell
of moth balls, scent of age
of rows of books that Wilbur
rested within.

You have to wonder—
did he read all those books,
are they in progress, or are they
simply stacked like a protective
barrier, never opened?

Empty glass bottles
that suggest some dismay.

A clip of speech that
played with a Southern accent,
these days
it’s hard to find someone
named Wilbur.


Many thanks to J.D. DeHart for stopping by the Kitchen today with his thought-balloons of poetry; we are, of course, mighty grateful!

Don’t forget tonight’s poetry reading at Time Tested Books, featuring Robert Clawson, Kane Clawson, and Betsyann Duval. That’s at 7pm at 1114 21st St. in Sacramento. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

—Medusa, celebrating poetry, in word bubbles or down on paper!

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