Ron Stock

Veteran Poet - 1,345 Points (4-19-1944 / Saginaw, Michigan)

You Don't Gotta Go To No God-Damn School To Be A Poet - Poem by Ron Stock

My best friend of forty-five years died not too long ago
and like the fool I used to be I reacted with machismo.
I was building a home on a mesa of wild rabbits and sage,
thinking about my pal I was depressed, angry, in a rage.
I climbed near the top of a ten-foot ladder in this crummy mood,
afraid those feelings of my old friend's death might intrude
on my thoughts as I hammered a nail into a piece of soffit wood
and lost my precious balance as a man possessed of death should.
The ladder fell away, my left boot caught, the eyelet hooked, so I
crashed to earth and landed full weight on my right foot.

I shattered my heel bone and damaged my ankle to boot.
In the emergency room they called me one lucky old coot
because I didn't break both feet, my neck, or my back,
or worse yet, paralyze myself or die from a heart attack.
In surgery they drilled my bone at the ankle, heel, and shin
and screwed on a movable traction rod with stainless steel pins.
I was three months on crutches and now I walk with a cane,
preoccupied with trying to find a patch of blue sky in my pain.
Now most people go to church on Sunday and I think that's quite odd.
I'd rather fall to my hands and knees and wait for a sign from God.

Just last Sunday I was feeling good while raking dirt around my land,
thinking about a magazine article I could not quite understand.
The author said to be a good poet you had to go to school, so I
assumed for over fifty years I'd been playing the tragic fool,
by writing about my feelings, having fun, and opening up my heart,
about pain, confusion, love, and friendship, and Ramie's death to
And while raking that soil I saw the outline of my broken right foot
and had a splendid revelation that reinforced my personal outlook.
Unless you want to win awards, make money, or braggadocio it, you
don't gotta go to no God-Damn school to be a poet.

Topic(s) of this poem: poetry

Form: Prose Poem

Comments about You Don't Gotta Go To No God-Damn School To Be A Poet by Ron Stock

  • Eugene Levich (4/13/2015 10:21:00 PM)

    You sound like a likeable crusty old varmint! Keep writing! (Report) Reply

    Ron Stock (4/14/2015 8:54:00 PM)

    Eugene, I was pretty crusty when I wrote this poem, but like most of us, have mellowed.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 13, 2015

Poem Edited: Sunday, September 4, 2016

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