To Go Beyond
“To go beyond
Is as wrong as to fall short,”
Confucius counseled all of us.
Yet her every aspect compels me
To go beyond.
She is impossible not to adore;
She is impossible not to tempt
Any man, I think, in casual conversation,
To press past delicate boundaries.
Flirting at first acquaintance
is a kind of high-wire act.
Lean left too much
And one falls
To a missed opportunity.
Lean too far right,
And a man overextends.
Whether she knows it or not
She holds the end of that wire
In her delicate, pale hands
Adorned by burgundy nail polish.
Are always the loveliest –
Each is unique.
They own their own look.
Hers is that of a slim red reed –
A burgundy wool jacket
Snug down the length of her svelte frame.
There’s an antique look to it –
Of forties-era femme fatales.
Yet it’s also conservative somehow –
The sensible Fall coat
Of an academic at autumn –
A young professor, perhaps,
Briskly traversing some campus walk
(Burgundy leaves fall here and there around her)
To deliver a lecture
On art or architecture
Some subject, I am certain
In which details appeal to the eye,
For her own eyes are fast
And discerning, seeking details,
Darting gently about me.
She appraises me quickly –
Am I an avid reader,
As she doubtlessly is herself?
Her black hair is drawn back in a clip
Both carefree and
Her face is as round and fair and pink
As the soft new bulb of a rose.
“What are you reading?”
She inquires brightly.
Her wooly burgundy sleeve
Brushes my wrist as she sits
Beside me on the bench.
My response is concise and polite:
Tom Clancy’s latest.
I mutter a bit about plots and spies.
I want to say more.
I want to go beyond.
I want to tell her
She is a delicate, dark red, soft spire.
A rose-colored reed that makes
Autumn more beautiful.
But I only chat about the book,
My poetry unspoken,
And she moves on.
Have I fallen short?
Guerilla Poet (for Dennis Villelmi)
With pens and back-pocket notepads.
The cheap Bics you’ve bought
Are the blue cylinders of bullets.
Your notepad is Kevlar
Protecting you from an artless day.
Their humdrum eyes are everywhere,
Those who do not read, recite or care,
Those for whom your avocation
Is scribbling, at best.
Snipe at similes when their eyes are elsewhere.
Take aim carefully
At metaphors as targets.
Your divided mind
Is an automatic rifle –
A Kalashinkov, perhaps
Durable and always working
Under any adverse conditions
Load and reload its magazines –
The ammunition of your secret thoughts.
Let them click audibly
Up into the weapon of your page.
The images in your head
All those fierce yellows and fiery reds,
Are the erudite explosions of grenades.
Fight the good fight.
When their eyes are elsewhere, write.
©Eric Robert Nolan 2013