Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Poem about Forgetfulness

Trying to Think of The Right Word

It begins with an “R,” you know that much.
Even after mouthing “ratatouille, rapscallion,
raspberry, rattlesnake,” the elusive “R—”
remains somewhere above
or below the rind of consciousness.
For some reason, the image of a white room
filled with red balloons
haunts your rumination,
but for the life of you,
you can’t remember why.
You think that “introverted” might be a
distant cousin, twice removed,
but you will wake up at 3 A.M. tonight,
profoundly troubled still because you found
the lightning bug, and not the lightning.
Where do they go, those satisfying,
precise adjectives, like basketballs
swishing through a dozen stainless hoops?
I’d like to stumble across that secret room,
where all of the right words
flutter with exactly cut wings, or snap
together into right angles
in perfect 4/4 time.
That host of the words, which were so
much more what I wanted to say
might help me forget
the badlands of the alternative,
which was so much less
than all of what I meant.

"The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter--'tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." -Mark Twain

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