Crazy Talk

Don Quixote earned his fame
Through windmill jousts and chasing sheep
And in the end he lent his name
To they who doomed ideals would keep

His exploits caused his kin some sadness
And dismayed the peasant friend
Who squired him throughout his madness
Shepherding him at the end

Cervantes’ knight was overawed
By life; his squire dim but true
Between them, I prefer the flawed,
Insane perspective of D.Q.

Madness in pursuit of beauty–
Extrañeza heroico
Eclipses humble faith and duty?
I’m ashamed to say, it’s so.

Beep-Beep!

Some days I’m the Road Runner, some, Wile E.
On still others, that hole in the canyon is me.
On occasion (more frequently as I grow older),
My shadow transforms to the shape of a boulder.
I thought it might help to just hide in my house,
Draw the curtains, and do all my shopping by mouse,
But it didn’t. (I’m blaming those cookies that track me
On WWW Acme.)

Small Talk

I wish I had your soft, thick head.
Of hair, I mean. Forget I said
That thing about how thick your head is.
Hair! Know what my one regret is?
I don’t own a time machine.
Your hair looks nice! I’ll bet it’s clean.
I mean, it looks clean over there.
It’s hard to see behind your glare–
The glare–from those French doors behind you.
Light’s so bright it might could blind you!
No, I’m fine. Your head is blocking
Out the sun– Hey, I’m done talking!

A River In Egypt (And Points South)

My dog is older than she was
And thinks about the things she does
Before she does them; once upon
A time, ere thoughts arrived, she’d gone

I took a run the other day
And reminisced about the way
That she and I had cruised that trail
When stronger winds still filled her sail

I tell myself (and she concurs)
The choice to stay behind is hers
These days a run’s more work than lark
She’d rather wander in the park

She doesn’t eat the way she did
But that’s okay. She’s not a kid–
Or pup–whatever dogs are called
When they’re still tiny, blind and bald

I get it. Sure, she’s growing…up
She maybe needs a dribble cup
And likes her doggy treats size small
And chases just the once-thrown ball

But squirrels still respect a growl
Issued from a drooly jowl
They chatter at her–well offstage–
And never think about her age

We’ll sit together, she and I
And watch the afternoon go by
And later–maybe–take a jog
A boy and his immortal dog

Post-Marathon Calendar

First day after: Slightly sore,
But braced to face much greater later.
Second day: Shop online store
To price in-home de-escalator.
Third day after: Pain recedes–
Embrace it (if you’re into Zen).
Fourth day after: Changing speeds
On course is possible again.
Fifth and sixth days: S. quo ante.
One week out: Run short and fast.
Two weeks out, your legs say, “Can’t we
Go long, please? We can?!? At last!!”

Long Runnin’ Blues

Half a mile into my long run
My heart is poundin’ in my chest
Just half a mile into my long run
My heart is poundin’ in my chest
This might not be my mornin’
I already need a rest

Two miles into my long run
And my knees are wide awake
Two miles into my long run
Both my knees are wide awake
I’m still tryin’ to find my rhythm
Maybe this was a mistake

Five miles into my long run
On the gravelled river path
Jus’ five miles into my long run
On the gravelled river path
Over two more hours of runnin’
I can’t help but do the math

Seven miles into my long run
And the city’s wakin’ up
Seven miles into my long run
I see the city wakin’ up
I’ve been runnin’ for an hour
They’re just startin’ their first cup

Eleven miles into my long run
I jog left instead o’ right
Eleven miles into my long run
I jog left instead o’ right
‘F I keep followin’ the river
Might not make it home tonight

Fourteen miles into my long run
And my water’s runnin’ low
Fourteen miles into my long run
I see my water’s runnin’ low
Wish my drinkin’ matched my runnin’
Awful wet and awful slow

Sixteen miles into my long run
And I’ve just stopped havin’ fun
Sixteen miles into my long run
Ain’t no longer havin’ fun
So I’m finally past the warm-up
Now the real workout’s begun

Eighteen miles into my long run
And I’m climbin’ up The Wall
Eighteen miles into my long run
I’m a-climbin’ up The Wall
When I think about it after
Won’t remember this at all

Twenty miles into my long run
Time to turn and head for home
Twenty miles into my long run
Time to point my trainers home
Fantasizin’ ’bout the sofa
Lay me down and never roam

Twenty-three point six one miles
And my long run’s in the book
Twenty-three point six one miles
One more long run’s in the book
Glad to brag about the distance
Just don’t ask how long it took

Don’ know why I do these long runs
Ain’t got energy to burn
Don’ know why I do these long runs
Got no energy to burn
I should just take up the guitar
‘Cept it’s clear I’ll never learn

Tight Shirt

He marks the first surprising day of fall
Inside the stubborn store that still sells books
Along the nearly westbound street that leads
Through downtown to the tented riverfront

Already shady as our tilting town
Allows the sun to lead the fowl south
In Vs and Ms and Ws and Js
The alphabetic flying flocks of fall

Discounted calendars, two bits a month,
Adorn the windows–scrapbook fodder, cheap
At half the price–beside trite signs of fall
On flyers crying Welcome Back To School

Inside, beyond the racks of hectorlit,
Subtitles standing in for chapter one,
And books with covers begging to be judged,
Tattered stacks of verse too proud to fall

Coffee-stained, embossed with saucer tracks
The poets keep their whispered counsel, Howl
In staggered Caps that Cassady has gone
In timeless Measures where no Beat should fall

Watching from his window or a chair
Of weathered wood he lets his shirttail fall
Inhaling summer and exhaling fall
Billy Collins writes about it all