THE LATE 70'S
Those were wistful times, everyone was deep
In thought for something yearned for or lost.
Sometimes we mulled things over.
I'd lean down the gingham sheets and speak
To your wife. We used indoor voices.
Thanks to a popular soap opera
Pianism was in the air, everyone
Listened to the second movement
Of Beethoven's “Pathétique” sonata. Your wife
Was keen on lambent humanism.
When the heretics returned wearing sackcloths,
She wore the coarsest sackcloth
To the Academy Awards. On odd numbered days
I siphoned gas from your black Mustang.
Everyone was using their minds to form
Thoughts or bend spoons. When I called
On your mother in her nursing home,
I wore my genius lightly. I always brought
A lei of wildflowers and recited
The interstate highway numbers
Until the pear juice was served.
Did that square the circle? Sometimes
We chewed over the tip of the iceberg.
Then we came up for air. I don't know
What my life would be now if I hadn't
But I wish I hadn't.
--Peter Jay Shippy
From the Barn Owl Review