Three Poems by Bart Edelman

These three poems by Bart Edelman reveal how far we travel to find ourselves in the cycle defining our lives, where we are in constant motion, searching for balance…
by: Bart Edelman
The Wheel

I’m hired each season,
On an as-needed basis—
More often than not.
The work is a calling,
Providing me employment,
Task after task after task,
Defying what passes for purpose:
Head, hands, heart.
I ply my trade by day;
Allow nightly reparation time
To heal aches and pains—
Conditions craft can’t curtail,
And I do not demand it.
Whatever I’m able to offer,
Serves more than enough,
When spinning, silent sounds,
Keep me steady at the wheel.
Dip, Drip, Drop

Dip, drip, drop…
If we listen closely enough,
Liquid music intoxicates
What the heart cannot stop—
This yearning for life
We demanded long ago,
Before we swam from home
To comb the alien shore.

Dip, drip, drop…
As constant as the cascade
We desperately seek to avoid,
When all around us
There is nothing, whatsoever,
But the promise of night—
An antediluvian dream
We seem unable to escape.

Dip, drip, drop…
Always the identical sounds—
Steady rain above our heads
To keep rhythm righteous,
Tame this daily swell
We hear in the distance,
Beckoning us to return,
Learn to breathe again.
Serpent of Desire

Yes, surely, I’m in,
For as long as it takes.
Serpent of desire,
Coiled ‘round my neck—
A biblical badge to wear,
Warding off the demon,
‘Till death do us part.
Hey, it’s a job, I guess.
Somebody needs to step up
When the moment arrives,
Defending what honor remains—
One rattle after another.
I look at it this way:
If heaven has a trapdoor,
I want to be ready,
Go where I’m called,
Without explanation or delay—
No matter how far I fall.
After all, I’m merely a hiss away
From the next snake,
Waiting to engage me.

Bart Edelman’s poetry collections include Crossing the Hackensack (Prometheus Press), Under Damaris’ Dress (Lightning Publications), The Alphabet of Love (Red Hen Press), The Gentle Man (Red Hen Press), The Last Mojito (Red Hen Press), The Geographer’s Wife (Red Hen Press), Whistling to Trick the Wind (Meadowlark Press), and This Body Is Never at Rest: New and Selected Poems 1993 – 2023 (Meadowlark Press). He has taught at Glendale College, where he edited Eclipse, a literary journal, and, most recently, in the MFA program at Antioch University, Los Angeles.  His work has been widely anthologized in textbooks published by City Lights Books, Etruscan Press, Fountainhead Press, Harcourt Brace, Longman, McGraw-Hill, Prentice Hall, Simon & Schuster, Thomson/Heinle, the University of Iowa Press, Wadsworth, and others. He lives in Pasadena, California.

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