I’m running on the flats

I’m running on the flats
along the water between
the San Francisco Bay and the rivers
that merge into it
on dirt paths through reeds and along
a marshy stream in the sun;
and ships with deep
red hulls and Asian
destinations coast
past while trains to carry
oil and gas hulk
down on their tracks like Roman
soldiers waiting for another
day’s battle and the sky
is a low dome
of dusky blue nicked only
by desultory jet
trails and I have lately decided
to recognize and to praise
what God has sprinkled
around me and so
I’m moved, as I run
past a white-haired man
in a folding chair who’s not
fishing, like the others you often
pass, but just looking
at it all, I’m moved—
though it’s not like me—to say
as I pass, “Not bad,”
in my best New England lack
of fanfare and the man
outdoes me there
with a “yeah,” and then
I’ve run by.

A hundred yards on
or so, the path
merges into the gravel
of the tracks and so
I turn
around and pass again
the man looking
who says, “That’s
the hard way, you know,”
and I smile and say,
“I know, I’m insane;
some day I’ll learn,”
and I keep jogging
on the same dirt
path knowing I’ll never
learn, through the same
reeds along the same
marshy stream
only jogging suddenly is
no longer the word.


About nosuchthingasastraightline

I grew up in tiny Lyme, New Hampshire, where I drew, roamed the surrounding woods, and first entertained the idea of God while listening to my mom's Beatles records. I studied biology at Harvard University where I wrote for The Harvard Lampoon and also began writing poetry. I have since made a living variously as a comedy screenwriter, teacher, and private tutor in math, science and writing. I’ve released three CDs of original music as the singer-songwriter and guitar player for Crooked Roads (listen to latest tracks here: https://soundcloud.com/crooked-roads). My poetry writing has been inspired by Rumi, Billy Collins, William Carlos Williams, e.e. cummings, Antonio Machado, Federico Garcia Lorca, and others. My two books of poetry, "The Morning I Married the Sky," and “Free this Morning” are both available on Amazon.
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