Wednesday, January 11, 2017

 Fat Man Walking
Ponderously plump, he moves through his
space and time, down the block, he fills
and empties, place, space; ponderously
slow, the weight of his years wears him,
he is this, he wears the day; the view as
far as he can see is moving along with him,
self-contained, cumbersome; neighbors
his presence they know so well, can tell
he’s coming, before the sight, the sounds
he makes, his breathing, his shuffling feet,
ground giving, compacting before, and then
expanding after, the wake he leaves behind
he never notices or the neighbors, for he is
neighbor enough for his needs, he wears
his world, no one asks him or waits for him
at the end of his walk, no dog follows him;
his walking is weighty, laborious, lumbering,
perhaps to the market, but no one asks him
and no one ever waits at the end of his walk.


             Behind It All
The community has pieces like him
pillars you might say, iconic, ironic,
the damage he might have done is
behind him now, almost forgotten,
the good he’s capable of is all they
manage to mention now, celebrate
his every gesture; all the boards he
serves on like to drop his name and
have him show off publicly for them;
he’s the face we can pick out of his
crowd, as if we were proud, so proud
of him; his money and fame precede
him, whisper his name and haunt us,
put everything we do into perspective,
lesser pieces of this puzzle, we become
background, stray pieces of furniture
in a house, a house with pillars like him
holding it up, holding us up, making us
seem small, small stray beings waiting,
enviously waiting our turn to be like that.
 
                     House Fire
There’s usually no one home at the time,
Except their pets who, of course, perish;
It’s always that wood stove or space heater
They left on its own, untended, or the flue
They never bothered to clean and never
Expected to act on its own, make its own
Decisions about smoldering embers and
Then light up the night on their back road
Or smoke up the afternoon waiting for
The volunteer firemen to show up; they get
There, eventually, put out the blaze and then
Get their moment on the evening news, get
To describe what they found and how long
It took to put it out, while in the background
The shell, the still smoking remains, exhibit A,
All the evidence we see of the life they led
Out there on the back road, away from it all,
Away from the cares of the urban or sub-
Urban day, away, a way out there where
Things burn up, where fire knows its place
Knows the power it still has over us all.
 
J.K. Durick