Threescore Years and Ten of Writer’s Block (poem)

To quote the infinite monkey theorem: if you were to
be one of a million monkeys at a million typewriters
or keyboards, spread across eternity, time constraints
not-with-standing, you would eventually put
to ink the entire corpus of Shakespeare’s work.
Be certain of that.

That is what worries me, though–that the theorem
is correct; that the typewriter is my own; that I’m
the lone monkey in
question.

On Writing (Pensée)

There have been years I tilled the soil of my mind,
weeding out the passe, banal thoughts before I sowed a single seed.
I meticulously cultivated the plot of land that is the page. 

Those years yielded a handful of well-constructed, satisfactory poems.

There have been years I doused the sidewalk of my brain with herbicides
and all manner of thoughts not fit for human consumption.
Entire months passed when I neglected to set aside any time
for watering, composting, or gardening.
I didn’t expect a single fruitful thought. 

Still, a handful of poems poked their way up through the cracks,
identical in quality to the others.

Maybe I have less to do with this than I thought.

Somnambulist (poem)

(by Daniel R. Jones)

“Put me to bed!”
the somnambulist said,
“Small wonder, it’s where I belong.”

But he knew as much
to ask- as such,
I wonder, wasn’t he wrong?

Nevertheless,
I acquiesced
and led him back to his chamber.

But the very next night—
the selfsame plight!
I followed to keep him from danger.

My breath short and shallow
through halls lit with tallow,
I shadowed with a strange elation.

Strolling slowly through streets,
(all the time, fast-asleep)
I surveyed his noctambulation.

Over cobblestone paths
we passed, at last
arriving on a star-lit lawn.

The moon garden seemed
in its midnight gleam
to rival Eden at dawn.

Queen Anne’s Lace
spilled over the place,
there in that botany nirvana.

There were snowdrops a light,
candy-tufts, lily-white,
all manner of nocturnal fauna.

But there on the periphery
came quite a mystery:
there were Sylphs rubbing Luna Moth wings.

They kneaded in dust
to give the insects their thrust,
bade them fly as the faerie song rings.

It’s what happened next
that still has me vexed.
In my mind it was vivid and real.

I thought I, the stalker,
and he, the sleepwalker
that I chased through pastoral fields.

But the quarry I followed
through woodlands and hollow
snuck behind me with a slow, noiseless creep.

And he shook me about,
all the time shouting out,
“Come back to your bed, you’re asleep!”

Parasitic Muse (Poem)

(by Daniel R. Jones)

You’ve seen them—Calliope and Mneme
seducing mortals with sublime beauty.
You’ve heard their voices; sultry, sonorous
seducing mortals,
inspiring them to create works of art
as voluptuous, as full-figured
as they are.

But just as common is the parasitic muse:
flitting across darkened skies
heavy and bestial.
It stalks its prey with a cleaving knife
looking for a galley-slave:
a host to inhabit;
sometimes burning, sometimes hacking its way out.

Ol’ Boy (Prose Poem)

(by Daniel R. Jones)

Ol’ boy came by here not but a month ago and I poked my head out just to ask how he’s doing and he says, “I’m doin’, but I dunno how.”

Before you know it, he’s carrying on about how he got his newest scar: laid down his ‘cycle, maybe, or a southpaw caught him across the eye with a mean left hook outside the dive bar off Post and 23rd.

Ask him if he’s got a Kaw or a Yamaha and he’ll get offended, like. Says he spent his younger years under the hoods of Camaros and his daddy would rise out the grave and whip him good if he heard he wasn’t supporting American-made.

He’s got cheeks that look like sandpaper stretched tight and staked down like a tent. He has Ol’ Glory on one arm and the Stars and Bars on the other. If you’re a woman more’n likely he’ll put a rebel streak in you or at least make you feel a little more patriotic, provided you’re on all the right teams: GM and Coca-Cola and Bud Light and Copenhagen. If you aim to go along with him, remember trucks are meant to be lifted and not dropped, pledge allegiance to Ol’ Dixie and shoot Jack if you can’t stomach a shot of straight Diesel. Even if you don’t go along with him, you’ll get on fine, ’cause not a person alive doesn’t like ol’ boy.

Well anyway, he always did say he’d rather be the devil himself than one of his minions; but I’m thinking the jury must not have known him, must not have really known him, else they wouldn’t have convicted him, ’cause murderer or not, ol’ boy never did mean no harm.