Three Poems by DeWitt Clinton

These three poems by DeWitt Clinton, part of a forthcoming collection titled “Deep Deep Space,” examine the nuances and puzzlements of living in what some might call the Age of Anxiety, an era brought on by a wave of fear that reaches frightening depths…

by: DeWitt Clinton

Then, Nothing

Certainly not a black hole, that would be way too too
Even though that’s what it is, despite that it couldn’t
Be just that, but obviously something terribly not
That can no longer heal or renew what’s left of herself, 
If you know what I mean, and of course you don’t,
For no one answered all those Can You Help Me
Please appeals, not just occasionally, but every
Day, all the time, so often, even I was losing whatever
It was that I once had, and now I don’t have and
Wouldn’t mind at all answering a few of those
Troubles, but they’ve all blown out the window
So to speak, paper requests floating in the gusts
Across such a vast space and the fact that it’s
Pitch black doesn’t help at all in retrieving even
One of the slips, demands, or hollering screams
As now all that there is, from what I can tell, is
Then, nothing.  
The Plan

It’s the where and how I wonder about, don’t you,
But then, who’s worrying about stuff like that far
Out, or away, as we all hope that’s too far away
To even think about something like that, but we
Do, don’t we, and we pretend whatever the situation,
We’ll be on some white sand beach, or viewing all
Of Paris from way above, with no worries, none
At all, but then, when and if that time does come
I doubt any of us will be able to even board a flight
For anywhere, though that’s always the plan, isn’t
It, and of course it’s nice to think that way as it 
Give us such great big sighs knowing we’re never
Going to be that bad off, but from what I’ve seen
Out there, it is going to not only be bad but very
Bad as in Bad Bad much much worse than slipping
Out into the universe, all so tiny, wailing for air
And of course, food, and then a whole life time
We hope of fine friendships, fine wine, fine every
Thing, and who wouldn’t want that even now, right?
Deep Deep Space

So then, one evening, or was it yesterday, she left
On her way through the darkest of space, but not
At all caring a bit, and though she did say something
About the cold, and might need a ton of blankets,
Well, who knows how everyone is covered up these
Days as the place out there really isn’t out there, is
It?  Of course not, but it’s nice to think so especially
If you think that’s what’s out there, but I doubt if 
Anything is out there, don’t you, but don’t take it 
Personally, for these kinds of remarks bring out the
Worst for some who know exactly what’s out there.
But now it’s just one of us, and of course we’re talking
To ourselves so that makes two of us inside the one
Of us, but we’re having all kinds of roller-coaster ups
And downs and tilt-a-whirls, if that makes sense, and as 
Well, I wonder why so many rattle snakes are shaking
Their tails so I’m facing extreme danger, but then, of
Course, they’re all in my head, and really not there,
Just like they were really not there when Harrison 
Ford said I really don’t like snakes, and to be honest,
I don’t really like snakes either, as there were a bunch
Of bad copperheads at one of our Boy Scout overnights
And that was something I’m still talking to therapists
About, but they’re slowly slipping out of my brain,
And right now, I’m looking at all these clothes closets
And they seem to be pretty horrifying as well as nobody
Can even step into the dark closest and remove anything
As everything is squeezed so tightly together that there’s
No way we’re going to remove even that beautiful blue
One you loved so much, and nearly always wore to our
Trips to the ballet on Sundays.  But now there are no more
Trips, no more Londons or Florences, or Cozumel beaches,
Heck I can’t think of anywhere I could go without thinking
Who’s not here, oh, of course, it’s you in your own space
Suit way out there, and heck, not even caring a hoot or
Two about who needs to breathe out there, anyway, so
I guess that’s about it, and don’t worry, this will happen
To you, too, just wait, don’t worry, perhaps it will never
Ever happen, but according to the obits in the local paper,
Well, you’ll figure it out, unless you hold your breath
And pretend all of this is balderdash but you’ll know,
How soon, well soon enough as they say, soon enough.

DeWitt Clinton taught English, Creative Writing, and World of Ideas courses for over thirty years at the University of Wisconsin — Whitewater. He is a student of Iyengar Yoga, and occasionally substitutes as a yoga instructor for seniors in The Village of Shorewood, Wisconsin. His earlier collections of poetry include The Conquistador Dog Texts, The Coyot. Inca Texts, (New Rivers Press), At the End of the War (Kelsay Books, 2018) and By A Lake Near A Moon: Fishing with the Chinese Masters (Is A Rose Press, 2020). A fifth poetry collection, ​Hello There, is due out soon from Word Tech Communications in Cincinnati.   

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