Mag Nescafe muna at Mag-relax

Relax. This won’t last long.

Or if it does, or if the lines

make you sleepy or bored,

give in to sleep, turn on

the T.V., deal the cards.

This poem is built to withstand

such things. Its feelings

cannot be hurt. They exist

somewhere in the poet,

and I am far away.

Pick it up anytime. Start it

in the middle if you wish.

It is as approachable as melodrama,

and can offer you violence

if it is violence you like. Look,

there’s a man on a sidewalk;

the way his leg is quivering

he’ll never be the same again.

This is your poem

and I know you’re busy at the office

or the kids are into your last nerve.

Maybe it’s sex you’ve always wanted.

Well, they lie together

like the party’s unbuttoned coats,

slumped on the bed

waiting for drunken arms to move them.

I don’t think you want me to go on;

everyone has his expectations, but this

is a poem for the entire family.

Right now, Budweiser

is dripping from a waterfall,

deodorants are hissing into armpits

of people you resemble,

and the two lovers are dressing now,

saying farewell.

I don’t know what music this poem

can come up with, but clearly

it’s needed. For it’s apparent

they will never see each other again

and we need music for this

because there was never music when he or she

left you standing on the corner.

You see, I want this poem to be nicer

than life. I want you to look at it

when anxiety zigzags your stomach

and the last tranquilizer is gone

and you need someone to tell you

I’ll be here when you want me

like the sound inside a shell.

The poem is saying that to you now.

But don’t give anything for this poem.

It doesn’t expect much. It will never say more

than listening can explain.

Just keep it in your attache case

or in your house. And if you’re not asleep

by now, or bored beyond sense,

the poem wants you to laugh. Laugh at

yourself, laugh at this poem, at all poetry.

Come on:

Good. Now here’s what poetry can do.

Imagine yourself a caterpillar.

There’s an awful shrug and, suddenly,

You’re beautiful for as long as you live.

Stephen Dunn – Poem For People That Are Understandably Too Busy To Read


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