by Alan Walowitz
They will call him brave.
“Penelope”– Dorothy Parker
The universe is telling us plenty– and some of it true–
but what to do with all the conflicting information?
These days I lash myself
to practiced habit and established form.
You’d be surprised
who’ll watch a guy muck about in quicksand
when he hardly gives a shit at all.
Sometimes I stop and browse
the cards and letters you fans send.
I like the ones that read like fortunes best:
Don’t seek so hard.
Feel free to be old. And even more poetic:
Come joyfully to the fruits of home.
What you’ve read or heard
might have once been true:
the glossy smile of native girl on travel brochure
could send me hot and frenzied
in an entirely new direction.
But I always choose Ithaca now—
hapless suitors, wife gone grey,
son who doesn’t know me.
Cowardly? I admit, but comfort of a kind
what love and duty will have us do.
Process notes: “The Sequel” has gone through many iterations. It started out being about my postman, who always seemed to me to be a happy man. But who can tell how happy anyone else is, when we can hardly tell about ourselves? The poem ended up being sort of about an Odyssey, a frequent, perhaps too-frequent, subject of poetry, hence my nod to one of the best by Dorothy Parker in the epigraph.
Alan Walowitz has been published in various places on the web–and off. He’s a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an online journal, and teaches at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY and St. John’s University in Queens. Alan’s chapbook, Exactly Like Love, was published by Osedax Press in 2016 and is now in its second printing. For more see alanwalowitz.com.