time well spent

by Gabriel Ricard

I can still learn, after all. I can still pick up
a few more honest tricks, maybe discover a new line
of work. I could do that and find out if the secret to happiness
really does involve stapling twenties to your chest and fifties
to any facial expressions you’re tired of hearing about.

Guns don’t appeal to me much. I can run about a mile
before the heart attack comes roaring in with ropes
and sharp sticks. Computers are pretty simple,
but I don’t think there’s anything I know you can’t learn
from a quick-witted Windows tutorial. My jokes work best
on empty elevators at six a.m., and I’ve had mixed results
with the kind of smile you see on the old movie stars.

Someone with a degree in insight
needs to sit me down and cut off my sleeping pills
until I understand the crawling basics.

We’re talking about a lot of work,
a lot of people who won’t tell you
how far they got before giving up
and committing their notes to gibberish and backwards clues.

Even I can’t use any of it. The best I’ve got is in knowing
I’m going to look a little less surprised every time a close friend
tries to use their front door as offense.

I’m too honest, even when my hand is no where
near the cutting board. I got bitter at sixteen
and completely slept through the class
where I was supposed to grow out of it. I borrow money
for train rides and couldn’t even begin to pretend
I was actually planning to go somewhere important.

I’m too honest, but I’ve still managed to knowingly
hurt good people. I’ll never learn to play the blues guitar
or saxophone, and I’ll never stop
complaining about that. My temper usually gets the better
of me when it would smarter to retreat to the kitchen
and pretend everything is breaking down at once.

The end of the world could roll in tomorrow
on the backs of angels and lost WWII fighter jets,
and I’ll still be whining about the weather while trying
to get a laugh out of people who have asked me to leave.

Today is the second try-out for January first,
and I’m already looking ahead to December.


Posted on 12/23/2009
Copyright © 2022 Gabriel Ricard

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Sarah Wolf on 12/23/09 at 04:41 PM

I love your writes Ricard. The contemplation of life is good here. Love the fighter jets line...

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