Let me be Frank.
Or Ernest—
It doesn’t matter who, exactly,
Just let me be someone other than
This individual me
Who seems to have no end to the spout of rambling
Circles which sundance around my soul and up and out my eyes
With no end to the internal commotion and no regard for the inner turmoil
With which the endless stream corrodes away without cause for taking a pause—
There it goes again.
The red handle of the spout
Which I have not the strength to close.

I wish I could talk with words
Instead of lengthy metaphors
And personification of all the objects and body parts around me.
I bet Frank wouldn’t talk to his feet
The way that I do most days.
I bet Ernest wouldn’t stroke his keyboard
When it glitches every now and then
The way that I do
Most days.

O, what would I do
With all the time I might save
If I were to be Frank
—or Ernest?
I might buy myself a boat at an affordable price,
Because of Frank’s excellent no-nonsense haggling skills
And enlist a tan officer of the sea—
For God knows Ernest has no seaworthiness personally—
And together we might sail around the Cape of Good Hope
Collecting seashells and coffee beans and good stories.
I would read Robinson Crusoe by daylight
And Rilke by candle
And write my own adventure tales and poetry—
Short ones, of course.
Concise ones.
As is the fashion of a Frank
Or an Ernest.

Do Frank and Ernest listen to music when they write?
It might be hard to give up the lengthy dance of jazz in which I immerse myself
And emerge the hero of my own soul.
Do Frank and Ernest wear fuzzy sweaters when they write?
It would be hard to give up the lulling embrace of my favorite
Patagonia sweater I bought in the heat of the summer
In the south of Wyoming when I was there for a wedding.
I bet Frank and Ernest wouldn’t have spent the $1.50
On something they wouldn’t wear for another six months.
I bet Frank and Ernest wouldn’t have gone into the
Catholic Ladies of the Sacred Heart thrift store
In the first place
And therefore it doesn’t do to ponder whether or not
Frank or Ernest wear sweaters when they write
Because they wouldn’t have the opportunity to wear
This fuzzy blue snuggle of a sweater in the first place.

And maybe jazz is too little a template
For a true Frank or Ernest
And they would prefer the calculating rhythm
Of something like a metronome.

It would be horrid to write to a metronome.

Just as it would be horrid to not have the cozy hug of my sweater.

I don’t even know if Frank or Ernest would be up for such lengthy dreams as mine
Or if Frank or Ernest would be game for a sail around the world
With an enlisted tan officer of the sea.
For God knows neither Frank nor Ernest are themselves very seaworthy—
Albeit excellent with haggling.

I do not know what to do now that I’ve thought myself in circles.
So aware of what turmoils the very sinews within me.
So aware of the voices within my soul which dance.
So aware of the jazz and the sweaters.

Perhaps my inability to shut down the red handle
Is not for a lack of strength at all.

Perhaps my inability to shut down the red handle
Is due to something more like
Wanting to unleash the breathing, boiling, overflowing me.
And maybe I don’t want Me to be a Frank—
Or an Ernest—

The reader brings his or her own experience to the poem and creates meaning. Here is my experience:


2 Comments on “Let Me Be Frank

  1. Corne d’abondance

    Ô belle corne, d’où
    penchée vers notre attente ?
    Qui n’êtes qu’une pente
    en calice, déversez-vous !

    Des fleurs, des fleurs, des fleurs,
    qui, en tombant font un lit
    aux bondissantes rondeurs
    de tant de fruits accomplis !

    Et tout cela sans fin
    nous attaque et s’élance,
    pour punir l’insuffisance
    de notre coeur déjà plein.

    Ô corne trop vaste, quel
    miracle par vous se donne !
    Ô cor de chasse, qui sonne
    des choses, au souffle du ciel !

    Rainer Maria Rilke

    Did you know that Rilke wrote in French ? These are very good.
    Perhaps you should truly seek those beans so you will give you a rest from answering yourself about to be Frank or Ernest. And surrounded by green in mid jungle and leopard, you’ll be delivered from dreams and vain to let a brighter reality come across.
    But that is another dream. To an old world human being to a new world human being, you still seems to make an empty deal with yourself. You still trying to build. I said new world and old world because we learnt during the long times of our history to let thing goes at the very most when we seek to reach higher summit. This is not good everytime and everywhere and maybe this is one of the reasons that explain why you’re now in front of us in many matters but it has the advantages to let us free. i’m really convinced of what i said and i’m really convinced after our times, you and me in the black isle of Scotland that’s your lack. That’s what i felt during my reading of you today. I would say melt your inner you with beauty and the beauty of a man and go far beyond your limit as we use to do here with no pity for ourself because if you survive the long night who take place after your abolichment you’ll find at least the bean. I have no right to give you advices so please consider it as a friendly commentary reading because i appreciate it and a shared thought from how i try to go by.

    From a Newfoundland breeder.


    • I always appreciated your advice and wisdom, you speak with a soul of one who has lived many lives. You, Liath, and the Newfs taught me more in a few weeks about what it is to be human than what I have learned in years of my life combined. Thank you for your comment and for your encouragement.


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