by Greg Baysans

. . .

The Ides of March, 2000: It (should but) doesn't matter how this is presented (already I've chosen the previous for its specificity over "I should (but don't) care..." and "It should (but doesn't) matter...") because the poem is the idea, the kernel in the story about to be told, and I know a story does not presume a poem (nor vice versa), but even that (and all of this) is part of the poem I'm here (trying) to capture.

A bad day at work, what with my supervisor giving me a brow-beating, ordering me not to find typos in it before the newspaper's printed. After work Anthony and I went to his place; I shed a few tears in the vehicle, confounded by frustrations, not relieving the tensions (debriefing) by talking. Me, wordless.

We went to a tavern, and he and another acquaintance shot some pool. I even played a game, explaining that I play about once every five years and was due! Lost. A stranger (to me though not to Anthony's and my acquaintance) arrived and added his name to the board to challenge the next winner. That game began.

At one point his opponent bumped a ball or did something irregular, and the stranger forgave, saying, "That's all right. Everybody plays slop nowadays."

He had given me my metaphor. My frustrations of the day were just that: Everybody plays slop nowadays.

That's the poem, just that, but it took the whole story to tell it. A second (perhaps) poem is somehow in the feeling I had then, hearing him.

I felt like (became?) Olympia Dukakis's character in "Moonstruck" who asks another character a question for which she wants only one answer. She gets another then asks again and, getting the answer she waited for, blurts, "That's it!"

(A third poem would be in the title, a pool term used another way as well, how it's not mentioned in the poem but is entirely what the poem is about, two short sentences ["Me, wordless." and "Lost."] that I quite like, a complex sentence ["explaining that I play about once every five years and was due!"] that has various verb tenses, how I've disregarded usual poetic presentation and, I maintain, presented a poem, playing slop in my own fashion.)


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