Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"The Poet" by Gene Hodge, Frequent Contributor & Poet of the Week

The Poet
Gene Hodge

I watched him on the balcony of the Days Inn,
from my apartment window across the street.
Early it was—6 am.
Everyone sleeping
but noisy blackbirds
on rooftops and power lines.
Oblivious to passing traffic
he sat reading a book,
sipping coffee
and occasionally looking-up
to see if he was missing something.

Laying the book aside
he stood, holding the handrail . . .
scanning the street’s double yellow lines,
white parking spaces,
cracks in the sidewalk,
bouquets of morning glories
hanging from each lamppost, 
a runner with tattooed arms chasing the morning
and a grey Siamese cat with three white mittens
tip-toeing across a porch roof;
gutters hanging loosely
from antique houses
where peeling, painted bricks
checkerboard the exterior.
He thought about the dirt and cigarette butts
laying in the parking lot,
who was the last to turn the parking meter knobs?

I saw his lips move 
as he peered into the sky.
I thought . . . he’s praying!
Then with his head lowered,
smiled and returned himself
to reality—
disappearing through sliding doors
behind curtains of the day.

Poet’s Notes:  This poem is speaking not only to the reader but to the poet, who desires his readers to have a deeper understanding of what he feels as he is touched by his surroundings.  Every detail, every little observation matters.

Editor’s Note:  The reader is invited to ask, "Who is the poet here?"  Is it the speaker?  The subject of the poem?  Poets in general?  The author?  The reader wonders about whom the subject of the narrative might be.  Are two poets observing each other? 

One wonders how the speaker can know the thoughts of the subject of the poem.  It is easy enough to believe the observer can observe what the observed observes--but to know his thoughts, as is implied in final lines of the second stanza?  That implies the speaker and the subject of the poem may be one and the same.  Added to this mind-boggling fun is the beautiful imagery throughout the piece, as well as the notion of poetry as prayer.  How delightful! 

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