Poetry from Jerry Durick

The List

You get to hear about
Bucket lists

All the time

Around here

And they say it like

They invented the term.

So they tour like desperate

Folks. Old folks trying

To get it full

A bucket full of foreign cities.

Walking on canes,

Wheelchairs, walkers

Hobbling along

Seeing this and that

Filling their buckets

As if their life will fill

With this:

Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallin

Riga and Berlin

Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

They fill their buckets

Like Egyptian Pharaohs filling 

Their tombs for their time

In the next life.

                Sea Story

The North Sea, just its name reads

like a caption in a history book:

a seascape of crashing waves, one

of those wooden ships, full sails

sailing into a troublesome future.

The North Sea, sounds like an entry

in an immigrant’s journal, the feel

of loneliness and an unknowable

future. The North Sea, even today

seems like a summary of a climate

we all have to face along the way.

The North Sea all around us and

ahead of us, greeting us like it

greeted so many before us, a sea

untamable that we all will face.

            Tour Guide

How do you explain a place

You know so well to people

Who know little or nothing about

You or the place you need to

Explain. It’s a job, it’s your job

So you begin. There’s history

And all the details that set it

Up, the forces, the personalities

This war, that occupation, but

You notice the group start to

Doze off. These aren’t students

These are tourists, who yawn

At things they don’t know. You

Can pick out important sites or

Start off on the nature and how

It fits this place and people. You

Can talk about the economy or

The social systems that you know

They know little about, education

Media, the military if you must

And the various religions that vie

For prominence in a country not

Known for its religious traditions.

It’s an avalanche of material with

Little appeal. It’s an audience that

Pays a lot but wants very little. It’s

A job and you do and pretend that

Somehow it makes a difference.