Lionel Ritchie

Lionel Ritchie

What is it?

Is it that I sometimes limp?

My bump-top foot?

Dry skin?

My belly?

Less than ample amplitudes?

My knees?

The way I sneeze?

Is it, perchance, my posture?

A little lacking now,

under all this?

Is my frustration,




Wouldn’t a mail order bride,

be more suitable?

She could learn to cook,

black-eyed peas and chicken fried steak,


the way I do –

I would give away my recipe,

for Southern brewed libations,

Lionel Ritchie could sing,

at the wedding.


Is it my obsession with caffeine?

My secret longing for the return

of original formula pseudo-if-headra?

Because I promise you,

two a day,

made me feel better.

Is it my love of Sangria and cake?

And my refusal now to enjoy either?

Is it because I have loved things,

the way a little girl does?

Dolls, teddy bears, and boxes of treasure?

Gypsy-sparkle-beads and dandelion weeds?

Is it because I’d rather eat soup o’noodles

and write all night than do the laundry?

Is it because doing the laundry,

is a saving grace all its own

to me?

Is it the miraculous machinations of my mind,

that you find,

so difficult to leave behind?


Whatever I know,

is marginal when compared

to what I’ve yet to.

Is it the way I jump through hoops?

Falling, flailing, failing, sailing,


Having set myself on fire twice past?

Lucille Ball in a can-can outfit

and clown shoes?

I’ve paid my dues.


Is it because I think Kerouac kicks ass?

And understand the philosophy of Rand?

And the need for balance?

Even if I’ve yet to achieve it?

Is it because I still believe in Utopia?

Even it is self-contained within the walls of a beach house,

and the idea of trust?

Is it because I have hopia?

And still invent words to rhyme with Utopia?

Is it because I like Fitzgerald?

And my willingness to confess

the obvious?

My sometimes-righteous indignation?

Crumbling at opposition?


Is it the way I apologize too much?

Is it because I’m no good at math,

flunked Spanish and Economics too?

Is it because I’ve been so gullible and good

for a laugh?

Is it because I’m some kind of moral genius and wonder

if you mean this,

and philosophize my thighs into metaphors

of whores and wonderings of butterflies

whose wings have maybe been touched

more than they should have been?

Catalyzed and wise and looking for a palace hid

among a fortress of thorny roses

growing out of a sandcastle?

Is it because I sometimes still sleep

with the light on?

And can no longer fend

for myself

the way I used to?

Is it because I am not ashamed to say,

to admit,

to acknowledge,

that I need a man?

Is it because I dream of front porches,

rocking chairs,

and the healing of despair?


Is it because I believe that some things

are better from a distance?

And wonder about resistance?

And still believe in the transcendence of forgiveness?

And still believe,

in anything

at all?

What is it?

Have you just been looking
for some Muse
to use?

Then I refuse.

As if I could control you.


you agree that someday,

when you are truly old and grey,

and fading,

you will confess,

that it was me.