Tom Courtney

(St. Louis, MO)

Best way to keep a secret is tell it, just like that – mixes in with all the other palaver – nobody’s gonna listen, believe you or even care: the Secret


told the lady behind the counter
at the deli that I’m crazy and she just laughed and said no! But it’s true I really am crazy
And she said you don't look crazy
And I said no I don't suppose I do
That's part of my problem though I look normalwhateverthatis but I’m not
I walk around in a world of normal people and every once in a while I have to poke someone and tell them I’m not in the same world as they are and then they don't think I’m crazy
but that I am crazy for saying so

And she leaned over at me finally and said
What is it you are crazy weeth? And I said

I’m bi-polar. You know, manic-depressive?

And her eyes glazed over like the hams and salami
You don't know what that is do you? I said
And she said
No I don't know. What is that? And I said

That's what I am, I’m manic-depressive
Andshesaid in hersweetest sleepy-eyed droopy-eyelid limpid voice
I’m sorry I’m very sorry you're … whatever it is you said...

I tell you what (she said) ! ! Get far away! Just get away from it all for a while! Take a vacation when's the last time you took a vacation?

Go drive somewhere in your car even if you don't know where you're going!
and I said i can't get away from myself I’m sorry

I have to take me with myself wherever I go he goes and I come
I go and he comes I wish I could...

Then I realized this was just too much about me and my words trailed off

What vacation did she want to/ need to take! ? What was crazy when crazy really came to her? What was it for her to speak her heart to a stranger?

What did all my words spun and flung so carelessly bite into I didn't know this lady

So I said well, yea, you know I’ll do that

And she smiled it meant a lot that’s what you have to give when you're
In yourself
Gave her the response she needed to hear
heart to heart
Appreciate it really- your idea- I’ll do it!
I’m gonna try and do that

And by the way
don't mind all my crazy talk
You know, I’m just a little crazy

And she said no! And I said yes! No! Yes! Ha haha

I am

And I could hear myself and how I must sound to her
Like some bothersome man who needs the attention - lonely most likely like men get when they think about it and probably - more than likely
They had too much liquor
The alcohol- and the way they talk
because they're drunk - they talk around women
And can’t see the barriers and can't see that they're seen sloppy drunk they say

Don't pay me any mind, I’m just crazy
And then they tap the sides of their head like it'll rattle
and they grin
that awkward, hanging grin
When their lips and tongue are thick their heads spinning and the room is turning around them

And he thinks I’m putting on a pretty good show
I’m drunk and I know it
Don’t show it too much

Want to be loose but not too loose and lose their respect and he thinks in the far back of what’s left functioning in that mind he's pickling

That because he can't see straight
that nobody else can either

But knowing they’re pretty drunk they stumble and sway towards the door because you don't score women when you're drunk
You just have some fun
And practice the lines you're too introverted to say sober you have some fun and kill another night

Stumbling and waving as they go thinking for the life of them
I’m crazy to be this drunk but I’m a crazy guy

Until they wake up the next morning and find out they're not crazy at all just sick

And it's the same-ol same-ol: job, wife or kids a pale sheet pulled over the world of lights and fancy

But I wake up the next day (woke up one day, that is) and find out
(found out)

No hang over just a spill-over
a continuation of what I thought had been a bad experience
and now it’s just my life
and life just kind of flip-flopped on me in the night

So I turned around walked away from the nice lady iknewjustasmidgenbetter in the deli
to tap the side of my head and grinned at her
a wide but fading grin
attempting to leer

Submitted: Friday, May 08, 2009
Edited: Sunday, May 10, 2009

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Comments about this poem (Best way to keep a secret is tell it, just like that – mixes in with all the other palaver – nobody’s gonna listen, believe you or even care: the Secret by Tom Courtney )

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  • Fiona Davidson (5/8/2009 2:20:00 AM)

    That is one hell of a write Tom...holds a lot of insight and your imagery is brilliant...10+++ (Report) Reply

  • Riya Riska (5/8/2009 2:12:00 AM)

    I had some fun when I read this page..
    Getting crazy too coz your words got me spinned..
    : -)
    I did enjoyed it.. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

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