Michael Philips

Drum Lessons - Poem by Michael Philips

She wants me like the moon,
reliably present but distanced,
like something sacred
or beating nearby - an animal’s heart,
wild and unknowable
in its underground womb.
It would be a tall tale to assure her
I can ride everywhere in tandem,
because I’m a character in one of those hokey
movie capers where they synchronize watches,
only to careen into mayhem anyway.
As if I could ever be a metronome – let alone
an expensive ebony one,
sitting aloof and neglected on a parlor grand
like a legend,
always at hair trigger readiness
to echo through the empty house.

This is what I have learned:
The worst drummers are those
with abundant razzle dazzle
but who cannot keep the beat,
star struck by the romance of propulsion,
forgetting that rhythm wears a badge.
I have learned I am no machine,
though that is something measured in degrees.
I have learned that my steady beat
is out in the hot sun
sleeping in the road with my dog.

She will have to have me as waves,
sometimes gently pulling,
sometimes crashing.

Comments about Drum Lessons by Michael Philips

  • (11/3/2005 7:20:00 AM)

    I loved this from the first line to the last, but especially the last. It is good to know yourself and be comfortable with it...and then to say to your lover, 'you must take me as I am.' You said all this with such eloquence.

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  • (10/21/2005 8:36:00 AM)

    remarkable poem, Michael. especially the last bit!

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  • (10/20/2005 10:57:00 AM)

    A fine poem indeed whose imagery has a rare quality of focus. Restores one's faith in poetry, if it ever wavered! (Report) Reply

  • (10/20/2005 10:21:00 AM)

    Like a flaming arrow through my icy heart, Michael - total thaw! This is fine, fine poem! (Report) Reply

  • (10/20/2005 9:21:00 AM)

    Michael, this is a ten. I love the images, but your insight really captivates me. The day we learn who and what we are and quit marching to another's beat is a red letter day. This poem says you've done that. Congratulations! I'm bookmarking this.

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  • (10/20/2005 8:55:00 AM)

    Lovely poem, Michael, and we all feel like a machine sometimes and we all lose the beat sometimes. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, October 20, 2005

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