Poetry: Ethan Goffman

Ethan Goffman
Free Verse

Is verse ever really free?
It costs time and psychic energy.

If you write too much,
won't your vital life juices be drained,
your energy emptied,
like a Coke can left on a road,
splashing a few feeble drops of quick energy
sizzling on hot asphalt?

What if we each have a limited stock of words,
a word bank that we'll one day expend?

Some say free verse is like playing tennis without a net.
Others say you construct the net and rules as you play.

I worry that I write in free verse because I am too lazy to follow the rules of meter and rhyme.  I worry that I write poetry because I am too lazy to create the narrative and character of stories.  I worry that I write stories because I am too lazy to do the hard research of nonfiction prose.  I worry that I write nonfiction prose because I lack the imagination to write poetry.
If verse today is free, what will verse tomorrow be?
***


Aesthetic Delights of the Coronavirus

That pale blue ball with buoyant red spikes
ubiquitous
familiar
has become
almost comforting
a beach ball
a child’s toy
fantastic floating figure
intricate geometric model
artist’s masterwork spiked by fervid imagination
vehicle of death in some sprawling sci-fi odyssey
floating free in outer space.

That familiar blue ball with buoyant red spikes
haunts our dreams
melts into our
unknowns.

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