I’ll Be Gone a Little While

painting of woman at window

Don’t stop waiting

There is a pronounced tendency these days, among both poetry readers and poets themselves, to think that poetry is supposed to be about the poet. If we read a short story in which a character says, “I hated my father”, it’s that character speaking. If we read a poem in which the narrator says the same thing, we think “Wow, this poet hated his father.” Almost no one seems to recognize the possibility that poetry might be fictional.

So before you read the poem below, I want to clearly make the point that I have not been released from jail on multiple occasions. And feel free to use this poem as needed to help win over the object of your affections.

The Next Time I Get Out of Jail

The next time I get out of jail,
I’ll buy you a pretty dress,
then steal a car and come to you,
just to hear you whisper “yes”.

We’ll celebrate the darkness
with noise and colored lights
and rum and Coke and cigarettes,
with pistol shooting in the night.

The next time I get out of jail,
I’ll bring a case of beer.
When I’ve drunk half and you’ve drunk half,
I’ll whisper in your ear.

Then naked at the window,
we’ll throw chairs out on the lawn.
We’ll sing songs about the Devil
and his cheerful crimson spawn.

The next time I get out of jail,
I’ll wait for a lunar eclipse,
so I can arrive in darkness
to kiss your amazing lips.

Then when the town grows quiet,
we’ll get an open jeep,
turn our music crazy loud,
drive slowly down the street.

The next time I get out of jail,
I hope I’ll look the same
so you can recognize me
when I stand and pray your name.

I’ll write a book about you,
based almost on the facts,
how every time I went away,
you knew that I’d be back.

Next week I will be in Ireland, the graceful land of green and Guinness. I will try to post something from there, but if I do, it will be done from my phone, so don’t be looking for the usual elegant writing of pensive melancholy and wry wit. I’ll be busy with green stuff and Guinness. And if I do not post anything, I’ll be back in two weeks.

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Filed under Not Real Poetry

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