I am the way I am

because nobody could convince me

to be otherwise, a simple thought

to be not so easily deterred

from the wreckage of bad behavior

it’s okay to say “yes”

when you mean “no”

it’s okay to do your best

while you grow old

because no one really cares

not even if they want to

I am the way I am

out of spite, I hold the appellation

“poet” in high regard and

take a simple line or two

I am as I am

tending the garden, fearful

of court documents, wary of

tax forms, I never learned

how to pry open a box of butterflies

I am the way I am

capable of secrets despite

my mouth, I turn up the volume

and listen-in to real news, 

angry mobs in Budapest, trouble

on the streets of Beijing, a newborn

cloud coveting the garden 

I am subservient only to the blind musician

and his “futile horn”

(from HANG ON TO THE YANGTZE RIVER, forthcoming from Lithic Press 2020)