By Thomas Page

I’ve never read any of my poems in public.

Not because I have some apprehension about sharing them in a room mixed of strangers and friends

But just that I prefer people to read them themselves.

 

I tend to write “closet poems” like many of the plays of the Roman language,

Meant for private consumption

But publish them on the internet like the door ajar.

 

Who knows, I might read them someday.

I might even read this one someday.

I may look the same as I did when I was 24

Or age like one of Gioia’s beached gods—

A California raisin from Monterey.

I might be as gray as a January afternoon

Or as vibrant as a July clap after a chemical boom

Or more likely as normal looking as a November Thursday.

 

I might say this in front of crowd who may pick up every fifth beat

While they look at their phones

Just someone showing their chicken scratch

Expecting it to be displayed on the fridge next to the perfect spelling tests and pictures and dental appointment reminders.

 

I might say this in front of one person only

Who gives me their undivided attention,

A person who shares some strands of DNA encouraging me to try despite the fact,

If we’re being honest,

I’m no Bill Shakespeare.

A person who might be an editor helping me clean this mess of a poem up,

A person who might be willing enough to deal with me and slip a ring on my left hand,

A person who might not know as Tom or Tommy or Thomas

But some other title I can’t even imagine who wants to know what I was like before I was donned that title.

Or even a stranger who I can’t describe well in a theoretical situation.

 

I might never say this poem

And it sits in some record keeper

With its title boldfaced with a ranged summary of myself

Or the trash can

Whatever is better for the planet at large.

 

Whoever I’m saying this to or whenever it is

I want you to know I wrote this while I was sitting in a burger joint

Practically empty at 7 O’clock at night

And not Xanadu.

Don’t let future me tell you that.

I don’t know what he’s like

Yet.

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