It’s hard to know the reason

This is an experiment, using a poetic form created by Terrance Hayes.  As Hayes does in his poem The Golden Shovel,  I have taken every word from Gwendolyn Brooks’ The Pool Players and used them in the same order to end each line of my poem.  In an act of dubious modesty, I have illustrated my own poem with a silver rather than a golden shovel.

It is hard to know the reason why we

prefer the imagined person to the real.

The highest praise we can give is to say, “She’s cool”:

So we keep the illusion that she whom we admire will

be always at ease, bound to ideologies neither of left

nor of right, jiving her way through school

in a way we seek to emulate, yet we

know that if we were to lurk

around her waste bins, waiting late

into the night, we would find that we

too strike

at the heart of living: none of us can go any way but straight,

along the path that life has laid for us: we

speak or cry or sing,

spread virtue or sin,

turn any way we

want, bear ourselves cautiously or skate on thin

ice, drink milk or gin – we

find that life is all that jazz,

that moon still rhymes with June,

and whatever we try we

will die

later or soon.

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