Brevity

I need a good poem
lifespan-short, one
I can shoe-horn between instants
which in that pinch says so much 
I’ll understand long and short 
by the depth of calluses 
they leave on my brain
but it’s not happening
I’m already up to nine lines
so it’s too late for brevity

what I want is 
one that says something
without rolling on forever
Amazon-like with the 
topographical detours 
of rivers and streams 
or the cul de sacs
of human mistakes

but now I see 
this won’t end here
in brute summation 
like a dead fish
wrapped in newsprint 
warning of impending
but once-avoidable 
consequence

no, it’ll go on 
(who knows why or how long)
until all nouns, 
verbs, conjugations,
& absolute clauses 
have been spent

until this mine of 
memory and metaphor
is no more complete 
than the store of meanings, 
dragged inside-out
by the flow of pregnant clauses 
in blood & bone 
that led to others and others and others
like cups spilled into the flow
of the sea-bound floods of 
sisters and brothers

Jim Culleny
7/1/18

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