Poetry Drawer: Against the Grain: Breathing: The MRI: Light: Simplicity by Michael Estabrook

Against the Grain

When you feel you need to make a change
a big change in your life
when you want to make a change
but you don’t know what or how
what do you do?
Just pick something and do it, the Devil laughs.
Doesn’t matter what?
Change is change. He stops pacing.
Let me help you out.
Do something big! For example,
become celibate or gay or a political activist
or a dog breeder or a gun lover or –
and this is an interesting idea –
stop writing poetry it sucks anyway,
take up another hobby instead:
golf, gardening, stamp collecting,
raise ferrets, play the tuba, anything
just do something please!
For the love God (and the Devil)
and he stomps out of the room
shaking his head just like always.
Him and his dramatic exits, so predictable.


Cold November night
I breathe in the chilled air feel it
filling my lungs
life is a good thing.

Stare up at the moon full and bright
throwing shadows from
the trees across our front lawn.
Stars are out too, Orion the Hunter,
Taurus the Bull, Gemini the Twins,
behind them the vast
infinite darkness of the universe
and its timelessness.

But not for me.
Part of the human condition is living
knowing you’ll be dying
and you don’t know when
and there’s nothing you can do about it
except seize the day.

Time is all we have. And strangely,
even though I didn’t love it,
I’m reminiscing about my life
in business, as a “businessman”
feeling sad
that I’ll never be in business again:
imposing in my three-piece suit,
my company car,
making another sale,
closer to hitting my target
for the quarter, my bonus for the year.

I take another deep breath
the cold air reminding me I’m alive
and for some reason the infinity
that is the universe
is sending me back to when I was
a young man, my future timeless
and mysterious as the universe itself.


giant machine, cold and throbbing
peers deep
into you through skin muscle bone and sinew
perhaps all the way to your soul
“next test lasts four minutes”
don’t move remain still
as a rusted car
as images flood by
as you try to focus on something other than
the heavy stillness drag of time:
sex and vacations, dreams, work
childhood memories chores to be done
books to read
humans (you can sense them)
are in the background servicing
the machine
but you can’t hear them or see them
for you are within the machine
captive helpless
a visitor just like outside in reality
all the while the machine
pulses and throbs
trying to peer deeper and deeper
to dig out all your secrets
and you want to tell it
there really isn’t that much to find


So what’s wrong with all these
shadows in the hallway
splinters of light sneaking
under the doors?
Do you have to watch TV all damn night
haven’t you got more important things to do
something, anything
learn something earn something
a university degree perhaps
or some money
paint the garage
clean the gutters, repair the shutters
pull some weeds, call your mother

Do you even know
what’s behind those doors
in the hallway
have you tried to figure it out?
Why not grab a flashlight
take a look?
No, of course not, you’re too busy
slumped on the sofa
watching TV
crime mysteries for Christ’s sake.

What would Dad say about you
wasting your time?
or Grandma Sadie.
What would Thomas More do if he knew
or FDR or Caesar,
Dante, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Mozart,
Ernest Hemingway or Jesus. . .

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Everything’s so complicated
when in the beginning
all that mattered was this sweet
brunette in Language Arts class
the most beautiful creature
he’d ever seen

I must heed Thoreau
simplify my life:
stop buying useless crap
avoid social media
stop controlling everything
and make something with my hands

Judge Judy
I have a simple life: no drinking, gambling, guns, golf
or girlfriends. Only me and the Mrs. of 50 years gardening,
shopping, reading, and watching Judge Judy on TV.

The News
Nonchalant in reporting horrible things but I can feel
how frightening and painful being stabbed or shot must be,
reminding me how lucky I am living a simple life

Antidote to Reality
I am constructing
a chronicle of beauty
about my woman
in her innocence, her purity
her tender simplicities
that would dwarf
even Juliet’s charms

Micheal Eastbrook and his Muse have this to say…

Part of me wants to leave behind thousands of poems in countless
little chapbooks and magazines,
infesting every nook and cranny of the Internet,
quantity over quality and all that. Another part wants to write only, say,
100 poems, each a masterpiece like Dylan Thomas.
And a third part wants to leave nothing behind,
except for the smoke lingering in my wake after burning them all
leaving people to wonder about the genius they missed, forever searching
for any poetic gems that may have survived.
But seriously, do I have to write a poem every damn time
there’s a space in my day: at the doctor’s office, the airport, the DMV,
during the kids’ basketball practice, soccer and softball.
Pull out my notebook, push on my glasses, click my pen into action.
(I’m old-fashioned, no electronic recording gadgetry for me.)
No doubt the literary world will be fine
if I simply sit and do nothing other than stare into the space around me.
But the Muse, it’s her fault I tell you, she’s always crowding me
sticking her nose in my business. For example,
the last thing I wanted to do last night was wake up at 3 a.m.
turn on the light fumble for my pad and pen
but She was there nudging me hissing in my ear
”Come on man move it I got things to say”

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