Why Do I Not Dance

You wake up to realize
your life is not worth a half penny.
It seems you went out last night
and detached the car battery cables
of the cars on your block and the next.
The police did not miss you
with your head under the hood
or the gigantic bag of packing peanuts
you used to fill the empty spaces
between engines and hoses.

When the judge asked if you were drunk or high,
you said, No, I was muddling thru the torpor.
Though the judge was impressed
with your vocabulary, she
gave you the options of five days in jail,
a fine a little larger than your current bank balance,
or replacing the race horse weathervane
on top of the courthouse.

On top of the fourth story of the courthouse
from the pinnacle of a slanting black roof
a white steeple rises twelve feet skyward,
high above cream colored stonework.
You remember how you planned
to initiate an accounting of the world’s population today,
a task you intended to complete in nine days.
Not just a count of humans, but all animals
visible to the naked eye.

Oh well. That was something to do
on the ten forced days off from your job
as chapter thirteen bankruptcy
reorganized their corporate structure
and purchased accounts payable time to unload debts.

Your mind reached back to high school
when the gym coach made everyone climb a rope
suspended from the ceiling.
With the racehorse in a backpack you shimmied
up the metal pole to the top
affixed the black arrowed iron horse
and ducked just in time as a gust sent it around.

On your way back down, you wondered,
If I can do this, why do I not dance?


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

This is a fancy. Something I made up for the fun of it. When I lived in Milwaukee in the 1990s, a guy in the Riverwest neighborhood got drunk while being pissed off at someone (or something) and did the packing peanut stunt to several cars before being arrested. A real life action like that just has to end up in a poem at some point.

The courthouse in my mind was from the small town of Walsenburg, Colorado. For three years I lived 17 miles outside of town at the dead end of a dirt road. I was recently back in Walsenburg and the dirt road is now mostly paved, since many more people have built homes out there.

Having lived in several small towns during my life, I have learned that municipal judges can come up with creative sentencing under certain conditions. My first favorite was the judge who sentenced any teenage drunk driver who came before her to write a very detailed paper on the auto wreckage of a drunk driving accident with all the blood and gore still in the crumpled cars. My second favorite is the judge who wanted to sentence a battered woman to target practice after she shot, but only wounded, her extremely abusive husband.

So this poem gives clues to how my creative mind works. It will grab any instance of my experience and plug it in to create the poem-narrative. It could be argued I write flash-fiction and disguise it as poems. To that I shrug my shoulders and keep writing.

Love & Light

Kenneth

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