Don’t be a cipher, someone said.
Show us the face that hides behind
The poems you have let us read,
Give us a glimpse beyond the mind
Of the poet who has edited
His life down into metered lines,
Whose given his blog a leveled screed
But nothing past the words he’s signed.
Here, then, you have my picture: See
The aging and the fattening
Of fifty years, the lazy eye
That looks like it is focusing
On things in the periphery;
See what’s in need of ironing,
The fashions that have passed me by,
The cry for different coloring,
And there is more, of course. I could
Divulge my sordid history
Of marriage leading to divorce,
Of education forcing me
To compromises, of a good
Career besmirched with obloquy.
But there is always more, of course,
Than who I would pretend to be.
With marriage, I have progeny
With stories of their own to tell;
With education, I have learned
The fathoms of my earthly well
Of ignorance; and should you see
The merchandise I try to sell,
For every dollar fairly earned,
My reputation’s mostly held.
But turn away from all of this.
What should it matter what I wear
Or how I always seem to look
Or just how well I comb my hair,
If I’m a father with no wife,
More lawyer than you’d have me be
Or lead an unenlightened life?
For now, you have my poetry.