Five Poems by D.C. Buschmann

These five poems by D.C. Buschmann explore the importance of living an authentic life — making and taking responsibility for one’s own choices, here and beyond…

by: D.C. Buschmann

Not Much Grass has Grown Beneath my Feet
I have my own values to adhere to. —Tom Selleck

I continue to move forward, 

sometimes leaping 
to the next stone

through rough river rapids and fierce winds, 

not knowing
the exact outcome. 

I can't always wait 
for calm winds
and sunny skies. 

In such cases, the least harmful route 
for the moment
has had to do. 

This has gotten me through.
—a modern sonnet

I used to play my records every day in sixth grade.
Stop playing that thing, Mama would say.
I played The Beatles, The Dave Clark Five, The Animals
and others. I played them loud—made me feel alive. 

Daddy didn't mind. He loved to play rock 'n' roll, too. 
Early in their marriage, Mama had said, Don't play that in the house!
Stop acting like a teenager! So, he would play his car radio outside
in his pea green 1951 Plymouth while I played     

with dolls on the back porch. He could have played Elvis
in a local playhouse in his leather bomber jacket and his hair slicked back.  
Years later, Daddy told me I'd played a key role in saving his life, that I was why 
he wasn't drafted in the Korean War—and he wasn't playing me.

I rarely play my albums now, though I still love the songs. 
What am I playing at? Nothing. Streaming is just easier.

Modern Sonnet:
The modern sonnet is simply a poem of 14 lines addressing any theme of the poet’s choosing. They don’t need to adhere to any set rhyme scheme or meter, nor do they need to include a volta. 
Having Been Asked to Comment 
—with thanks to Billy Collins and Emily Dickinson

I don't have a lot to say,
whether on forlorn chairs 
on a veranda or dock     or at a bar     
or at a teahouse where fortunes are told. 

While leaves gather in corners, 
and the dead of the day 
set off on their journeys, 
I say goodbye 
and try to remember why 
I would care I've not been fishing
on the Susquehanna     or why students
make love in a room without a bed. 

How much of this short life 
is within our power?   

Even if famous
we must     day by day    face obstacles 
and sing the songs of the living.
For fame is a bee. 
It has     a sting      and a wing.

Neither decades of arrogance 
nor a life of humility 
can postpone 
the carriage     coming      for us 
Ballast into the Abyss                 

Our past failures
like bags of rocks
of actions     of inactions
we drag around    heavy mementos 
of inadequacy and regret

We cannot carry 
this load 
if we want to progress.

Without this hindrance
the future may not be
paradise, but it can
be a sunrise 
so beautiful that others
will remark on
our shining faces,
the light in our eyes,
the weightlessness 
of our steps,
and the music 
in our hope-filled words. 

We can choose to move 
in the only direction
that promises peace. 
I Would Tell My Current Self 

"I didn't know anyone ever left that place."
— a friend of a friend about my hometown

If I could back up, revisit
my old haunts, do it over,
I would tell my current self:
Live as you did! You lived
the only way you could. 
Revisionist echoes 
are stoked by fiction writers
and storytellers.

Keep your vehicle in drive
and your eyes fixed forward.
There are many potholes, flats, 
and head-on collisions
in your rearview. 

You may not be the you
others wanted,                                         
but the bumpy ride along
People Pleasing Place
eventually made the connection to
Authentication Boulevard.

Never regret navigating
your own imperfect journey,
for you will take no passengers
when you drive off this sphere,
when you answer the last call
you will ever hear.

D.C. Buschmann lives in Carmel, Indiana. She is a former teacher, the retired assistant editor of two NW Indiana magazines, and editor of several books. Her first collection of poems, Nature: Human and Otherwise, was published in February 2021 (Amazon). She is the founder of Carmel Poetry Group and editor and publisher of Edmund F. Byrne’s My Life Poetically and Thursday Poems. Her work appears in journals and anthologies internationally, including AUIS Literary Journal, Tipton Poetry Journal, So it Goes Literary Journal, The Hong Kong Review and many others.

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