Sunday, January 31, 2010

Poem #9-2010

       for J.D. Salinger

Salinger dead
Don’t ever tell anybody anything.
That next-to-last-line in Catcher
a mission statement for his life
of respected reclusiveness

Author fame – a funny, fleeting thing
Deserved or not, it lands
like an encyclopedia on
your shoulders
Never as wonderful as you hope
or as dreadful as you fear
(although it has certainly driven more than
one writer crazy with unrealistic
expectations: The only ones for me are the mad ones . . .)

But few things can claim universality
and fame is no different
Maybe it isn’t anything at all
Maybe it’s everything
Or maybe it’s just the same
recognition we all crave –
run amok for a time

For every author you think famous
there is someone blissfully
unaware of their existence

The wind blows through the rye
and leaves no trace at all
Yet words blow through my mind
and leave a permanent scar

Still, long-hidden behind page and pen,
J.D. himself could walk into my local pub
tomorrow and escape all notice
except perhaps a passing comment
about the decrepit old man drinking alone in the corner

Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do,
you start missing everybody.

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