From the Heart First

©2002 John Schmoyer
Charles works the pumps at the Exxon.
Seems to be a mindless wanderer, irresponsible, generation 18
faking conversation—quirky smile—easing past reality
lost in cd’s ripping combinations of rap, classical and jazz.

Quick night Friday
Change rattles,
lint flies from one pocket to another.
Patience loops red around patron neck.
Here it comes no, no, not now—
    peculiar look forthcoming … he mutters
    “may I ask you a question, 
    where is it that you get your ideas?”

Fingerprint doorway slightly ajar
eyes roll and thoughts recover for rapid reply.

Shall I tell him about observations on life?
How ‘bout sincere insight that articulates with raspy voice
an emotion, an image, yes, images always
stacked neatly like junk food
leaning out the sides of four-tiered aluminum racks?
Do I speak on behalf of personal choice—
maybe Sandburg’s Fire-Logs, Levine’s Lion.
Do I shoot the breeze on light shadows at dusk,
cloud shapes at midday, a woman’s breasts, a mans ache,
a giraffes neck, a dogs bark, love won-love lost, or do I simply say
use your damn imagination, play with words, build a bridge,
tinker with time and place
enjoy each and every face, be persistent, patient, impulsive,
smile wide and often, search for ways to quench your thirst.
And when you finally decide to put your pen to paper
remember and remember always…
from the heart first
     the heart first.
[click to view introduction]