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.