This poem is part of CavanKerry’s series for National Poetry Month. Every day in April, we post a poem from our community of writers.
By Jack Ridl
I’m tired of Death’s allure,
of how the old beggar
makes me think that
rowing across the river is
somehow richer, more serious, than
the center of a pomegranate or my
dog’s way of sleeping on his paws.
I’m tired of ”the beauty of the elegy,”
the tone deaf lyricism of it all. I
want Death to listen for awhile
to Bud Powell or Art Blakey,
to have to stare for seven hours
at Matisse. I want him to do
standup and play the banjo, to
have to tap-dance and juggle, to
play Trivial Pursuit and weed
my garden. I’m tired of how Death
throws his voice, gets us
to judge a begonia, a song
in the shower, a voice, old dog.
I want life’s ragged way
of getting along, the wasted
afternoon and empty morning, the
sloppy kiss. I want to stagger
along between innings. I want
the burnt toast, the forgotten note,
and the lost pillow case, the dime
novel, and the Silly Putty of it all.
“Against Elegies” was first published in Poetry
JACK RIDL is the author of several collections of poetry — including Broken Symmetry, Outside the Center Ring and Against Elegies — and several literature textbooks. He taught poetry and literature for thirty-six years, was named one of the 100 most influential educators in the world of sport by the Institute for International Sport, and awarded Michigan Professor of the Year by the CASE/Carnegies foundation. He learned about basketball from his father, Hall of Fame basketball coach C.G. “Buzz” Ridl.