poems as hand- and foot-holds on a glass mountain

A Life Novel


Reading a few lines almost at random

turning pages by handfuls

in a paperback left on a counter

in a seedy public laundry

he decided to rewrite his life

change names to protect the illusion


From now on he was Edgar V.,

living in the fictional West Coast tourist town

of Two Heads, so named because it stood 

behind a small harbor between two tall headlands 

“Two Heads is better than none,” the locals said

when they thought about staying or leaving

before the next tsunami, abandoning homes

and businesses no one would buy


Edgar’s life would be a garden in a wheelbarrow

not planted yet, packaged and ready to move

if left in place long enough would plant itself

The bottom layer was bags of gravel

then bags of sand, soil and mulch

and an ample bag of seeds

he could’t recall what kinds


When he walked the streets of the town

the wheelbarrow would follow him

like a bonded dog whose tribe he was


Where to begin?, he thought

he had never known a beginning

that was more than a rain squall’s


When he walked, ground would spring up

to meet a foot-fall with no promise for the next


2 Responses to “A Life Novel”

  1. Craig Brandis (aka Burl Whitman)

    I like this poem—unadorned and certain in its uncertainty.


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