This Is Not a Poem, Damn It

by Neil Carpathios

I swear the sidewalk wants me
to write a poem about her;
how hard and smooth she is,
how wonderfully she provides us
with safe footing from point A
to point B. At the moment,
she is glistening under a streetlight
after a long rain, trying
to look shimmery, like
a woman’s drenched skin
stepping seductively from
a bathtub, as if I would fall
for that trap. She shows me
a puddle on which floats
a pack of matches like a miniature
of Huck Finn’s raft, as if to say:
Look at what I contain,
see how underrated
I’ve been, isn’t it about time
someone wrote a poem
about me? And how about
the dime someone dropped
like a tiny glowing hubcap?
How about the cigarette butt
an ant decides to walk around
instead of over? How about
the perfectly spaced cracks
segmenting concrete into symmetrical
rectangular blocks? All strong
arguments, yes, but I have more
important things to write about,
like broken hearts and time’s
termite-like nibbling on
our bones, and the mysterious
connection between the body
and spirit and the concept
of God. I’m too smart
to fall for the sidewalk’s
tricks. Besides, who would want
to read a poem about you,
I say, somewhat surprised
at myself to be talking
to a giant tongue of cement.



More from Neil Carpathios

The Function of Sadness
This Is Not a Poem, Damn It
What Happens Under the Overpass


Neil Carpathios is the author of three full-length poetry collections:  Playground of Flesh (Main Street Rag Press), At the Axis of Imponderables (winner of the Quercus Review Book Award), and the just released Beyond the Bones (FutureCycle Press). He is a professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio.

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