May 16, 2009

D.R. James

THE DAY I GOT MY TIMING DOWN

It was in that phase of pure
sarcasm, midteens, when guys
work out an awkward stance,

work their pack’s patter
till they maybe have it. I don’t
really remember the day but

the single-moment wonder of hitting
my first come-back just right
by accident, then their free, true

laughter and my perfect follow-up,
the never looking back. From there
a career: from Senior Class Clown,

to smooth talker in any crowd, to
flip teacher spinning lit, to wordsmith
chiseling chin-up come-backs

to the tin-clad sarcasms
every life dishes out as it
disarms or drops you or

leaves you hanging, slamming
its clanging locker door in your
gullible, stuttering face.

from Rattle #27, Summer 2007