OFF THE ROAD

Don’t tell the neighbors I’m up early
reading, writing poetry behind this light
off the road, not addressing deskwork
stacked around me, where Jeffers, Harrison
& Berry rise to the surface of a puddle
of papers from beyond my dark world—
here Stafford flows a gentle stream.

Loud and profane, it don’t make sense
to most—impatient and quick to be critical,
it doesn’t fit all they’ve heard
and I’ve forgotten, embellished seeds
grown wild and entangled on this uneven
ground beneath the sun’s harsh light
that I can’t claim for the life of me.

A man can’t ride naked in the brush
and expect to make it, can’t run with the herd
and find fresh feed unless he’s up front,
better for aching knees to graze away
early mornings when everyone’s asleep,
just dreaming, not adding to the traffic
on what seems to be a one-way street.

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