by James Hancock
Last week, I was sitting around the bike shop doing some networking because it was too cold to do any messenger runs. I had a stack of small, unmarked packages to deliver, but the public restrooms in the park where I always drop them were too frigid to hang around, so I was holding on to them until a couple of days passed. I know the customers won’t wait too long, cold weather or not.
This fellow came in to have a flat fixed. He had a uniform on like he belonged to a bicycle racing team, and I think he said he was a CPA. He said he didn’t want to get his hands dirty. I don’t know what a CPA is, but it must involve a lot of delicate work if he has to keep his hands clean. I tried to network with him in case he needed any packages delivered, but he had a bad accent and I had trouble understanding what he said. Or maybe it was just the words he used. I think he must have been from Canada, or maybe even Alaska. Anyway, he had this book of poems with him and he let me read one of them.
The poem was about a crow that could talk. That’s not what it was called in the poem, but big black birds are called crows where I’m from. The crow didn’t have much to say, but the man in the poem seemed really excited that it could talk at all. I think the crow just wanted a warm, dry place to live and thought it could take advantage of the man, so it said as little as possible. Anyway, the man went on for a long time ranting about his old girlfriend. I’m not sure the man was all there. I’ve broken up with my girlfriend before and didn’t fall apart the way he did. Maybe he was just too far behind on sleep.
The CPA said that if I liked this poem, I should read this other poem about an old sailor who kills a bird and wears it around his neck. I didn’t tell him so, but I think that must be the craziest idea I’ve heard in a long time. He must have thought I was born yesterday if he expected me to believe something as ridiculous as that. So I told him I was a busy man and I didn’t have time to sit around reading poetry.
Ever since I got published in Soapbox magazine, I have been looking for something else to write about so I could send them some more stuff. After I read the poem about the crow, I knew what I wanted to do.
I’ve read a lot of poetry. I’ve also written a lot. Mostly on restroom walls. So I wrote a poem and had my cousin Billy Ray use his computer to send it to the Soapbox people. I am waiting to see if they know good poetry when they see it. I already have a good career as a freelance bike messenger, but maybe I should take up poetry as a sideline and try to make a little money on it. You can decide if I have a future writing poetry:
A Poem by Eurquart Ledbetter
Oh. You ungrateful ingrate! Where did you learn to obfuscate?
First you make me hurry up and then you make me wait
And after that, you slow me down, and I am late.
Did you think I needed you so much I wouldn’t ever hesitate?
But I know you care, and when I’m with you, I walk on air.
Until you close a door, and of your face, I see no more.
Then I begin to wonder if the thunder I feel with you might be a blunder
That will end with me asunder, and by my own hand six feet under.
Now you might think this poem is about my girlfriend, Wanda Sue
Or you might not have a clue.
Or you might even think it is about you.
The truth is, I’ll never say who.
If you think this poem is lame
Or maybe a complete disaster.
What will you say about the fame
And the money I’ll get as a poetaster?
This poem may make you think I’m a buffoon
And it may not be the one you like best.
But you’ll certainly change your tune
When it comes out in Readers Digest.
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