From The Sidelines (Draft 1)

From The Sidelines

I don’t know why
I can’t fly

I had the dreams of the super-hero
because I so much wanted to love everyone
and help, though you are a special case,

but when a fool has no power
or a Hollywood studio
with special effects
at their wreck and call,

there is only the drab
loveless existence in
the fantasy of being alive, and

how could I be alive
if you could never love me
as I am,

as I speak
as if I were deep

and I can not be

while these
silly things

that don’t
let me be, that
don’t let me sing are

because I have
never known how

to speak
what I know
about Love, and

I could be loved
if I could speak
what I know:
a tiny bit of wisdom
that only I feel must be
somehow relevant to the one
who waits for my message, but

I don’t want to be a pawn of the universe

I want to know her now
so that I can speak at last
the secret message

I don’t want to be a puzzle piece.

I want to reach the love that is mine
just because I am me, and

why can’t the Universe
let me love, even if

I’m not a super-hero.

— Douglas Gilbert


13 thoughts on “From The Sidelines (Draft 1)

  1. I like the new poem, it reads nicely and has a good flow to it. It has a bit of that mysterious air to it (probably because of the secret message part). Of course, i read it several times because i don’t want to miss something important. Being a pawn of the universe gets tiring. I get that feeling a lot. Sometimes it feels like everyone knows what’s going on but me. Like there’s some big joke that everyone is in on but no one wants to fill me in on the punchline…it makes it where i really don’t want to do anything but the things i have to do anymore (like go to work and to the grocery store).
    But anyway, if it matters, I think you’re amazing just the way you are – you can be hero anytime and to be my hero, you don’t have to be able to fly or to have power or a hollywood studio…

    1. Thanks, this is wonderful to hear. You understand. I always enjoy your comments so much.
          Yeah, everyone gets it, and says how easy it is, and I do feel like there’s a big joke I’m not getting — that’s a good way to put it. Yeah, I don’t want to do anything — I keep saying I’m going to finish my new poem book and read in Central Park or Times Square or maybe on the beach or at the airport, or maybe at the Bowery Poetry Club when they have the poetry slam night ( I did that a few times), but it all resulted in nothing. And now I’m so angry still because I got insulted again at one of those poetry websites — you have to comment on 2 poems to post one of your own. So I commented on one as best I could, and I was very polite, but I couldn’t praise it. But I didn’t criticize it at all — I just said what I thought it meant to me. This person got multiple super-high praise, which is fine, but I couldn’t do that because it would be a super lie. But as I say I was very polite. He responds, “I can see why you’re struggling with poetry” and some day you’ll get it… or some such. I said you could have been diplomatic… and then I launched into a series of polite curses in several posts… geez, I’m still very angry… it was one of those very structured end rhyme, Shakespeare type things. He was acting like he’s the professor and I’m the student and some day I’ll be able to write poetry…

      1. Oh geez…not another person who thinks they’re the best poet ever because they have a bunch of friends on a poetry site. I mean it’s great for networking and meeting other people who like poetry but as far as honest feedback, well lets just say that mostly it seemed like people offering praise hoping you’d do the same for them. I would’ve been upset if i were you too – you’re an excellent writer. There’s nothing wrong with the structured end rhyme stuff but it’s not really something i enjoy reading anymore. It did help me get back into writing again after i’d quit for a while though…i suppose that was when we first met on aol. I hadn’t written anything in a very long time and i guess concentrating on making the end rhymes made it feel easier to get my words out or something. That didn’t last too long though and i went back to my old free style again. I actually think the structures and rhyming of the old styles is kinda like working a puzzle. It has to fit these certain dimensions/criteria but often times what someone really wants to say gets lost while making sure there’s an exact number of syllables or that things rhyme perfectly, but at least you have a fancy name for the type of poem you wrote and can feel important afterwards. Polite curses made me giggle…

      2. I didn’t mean to imply anything bad about those social poetry sites though. I mean, there are a lot of good writers on those sites too. I guess i’m just mostly antisocial anymore and i don’t like someone treating you like that. i am getting sleepy, i had to chase my dog around a neighborhood tonight because she got off her leash. She did some weird maneuver where she jumped up and backwards out of her harness (as she barked at a squirrel) and took off out of the park and up the street and through people’s backyards and then a nice lady was able to grab her collar when she ran up to her wanting to be petted. Then i went to find my mom and her dog again and some man was talking to her and trying to give her his dogs and he was bringing them outside on leashes (one was a border collie and one was a chocolate lab) and his wife and daughters were outside and everyone was petting everyone else’s dogs…now that i read that over again i realize it was a very weird evening but at least i was social and met some sort of nearby neighbors. Petals can be so bad sometimes!

    2. Oh sorry for the ramble. And I should say that I know you’re a very supportive person and deserve high praise, so as always you can say whatever you want, positive or negative, because I know you mean it in the best way. And I don’t mind if you don’t understand something — sometimes I write something and don’t understand it myself. I’m drifting lately to less planned structure and just sometimes going with an emotion. I’m not always comfortable with this approach because then I don’t understand what I wrote exactly. I’m sort of a Left-brained analytical person and my right-brain side doesn’t work that well and I don’t trust it much…I’m trying to adopt the child, but he doesn’t seem to know structure that well…
          Oh wait, I started by apologizing for rambling and then there I go — off to the races. Yeah I just need a good gallop.

      1. You can ramble to me anytime you like…i love your rambles. I think i’m kinda the opposite – my right brain side seems to work better than my left brain side. But my whole brain thinks all of your writing is absolutely wonderful.

    3. Thanks. Yeah I remember that — there were two people who totally took over the web site and destroyed it for everyone. They kept making up imaginary rules and bullying everyone. It’s a really odd thing that I’ve noticed: just two or three people with a lot of time on their hands can hijack a website and ruin it for everyone with constant bickering and badgering. And they have this insidious method of telling new people what “the rules are” even though there aren’t any such rules, and then training a corps of sycophants who crave approval to be their henchmen. And then they gang up on any innocent person who comes along. I remember I kept telling them: I’ve read the official rules for the website and honest constructive criticism is allowed and expected. And they kept saying, oh no, praise only… It was really weird: they said, “I’ve written this and this is how it is and I never edit. This is my expression and it’s perfect because it feels good or some such. And my friend says I should get the Nobel peace prize for it…” And then you came along and I said, “I have a suggestion, if that’s alright,” and you said sure why not, and you didn’t mind and weren’t offended. I liked how you broke through the crowd and saw that I was trying to be helpful. A few others came by but they were attacked so viciously that most never came back. Those two people collapsed the AOL site and AOL dropped it altogether. But I never understood why they had no monitor to stop the bullies.

      1. I’ve never been offended at your suggestions…I love them, they kinda breathed new life into my poetry by making it feel more interactive. I guess before you, poems always felt like a one sided private thing. I mean i didn’t share them often and even if i let someone read it, that was sort of the end of it. But when you suggest things or inspire something it makes it feel more like a team effort, sort of like we built it together, something that wouldn’t have been finished without your help. But yeah a monitor would’ve been useful…or just someone to come through and reinforce the rules or non-rules on that aol site. I see nothing wrong with suggestions and i’ve never seen you be rude when making them – the nobel peace prize part made me giggle…

    4. Oh Petals, poor Petals, squirrels can not be eaten or toyed with. They are not worthy of a hunt or quarrel because we love you and we can play without a tail and pet better.
          Sounds like an exhausting adventure with a good ending. And it’s good that Petals met a nice lady. And it’s sounds like all the dogs in the neighborhood are friendly. And as it turns out there were no pet peeves.
          So she got her exercise and is safe. Oh but the worry — it’s hard to talk to a dog, but “she knows not what she does.” Hmm, I know that they let a sheep raise a puppy so that when it grows up to be a sheep dog it just herds sheep and doesn’t eat them. The wolf instinct in them is to herd the sheep for the wolf-pack leader who gets to eat first and then the rest of pack eats the rest of the sheep or other prey. So somehow they’ve bred dogs who keep the herding instinct of their ancestors but lose the killing instinct…. Oh but I don’t suppose it would be possible for a squirrel to raise a puppy — they don’t have enough milk or chocolate cookies, and I’m not sure they can open up cans of baby formula and I don’t think that nuts are good for dogs.
          Oh, I forget now, what breed is Petals — she’s not wolf is she?

      1. Nope, she’s not a wolf, although sometimes i think she pretends she to be. Petals, the great protector of the wild backyard, who guards the birds from the cats and squirrels…hehe. She’s technically a ‘terrier mix’ which means they weren’t sure exactly what she was, we got her from the Humane Society. She’s really cute, medium sized (30 lbs) mainly white but has a black mask on her face (kinda like a super hero) and some black cow-like splotches. I doubt she could even catch a squirrel…although she did used to catch moles when we lived at my parent’s house. They have always had border collies. I used to ride horses when i was younger and the dogs would go out into the field and chase the horses back up to the barn…it’s neat how they get that herding instinct. But yeah, petals scares me when she gets loose because she’ll run right into the middle of the road without even pausing to look for a car, so the whole time i was sprinting around through this neighborhood trying to get her, i was also worried sick that she was going to get hurt. The squirrel raising a puppy made me giggle…it would be funny to see a puppy try to climb trees. I never knew that they let sheep raise puppies, that would be cute, watching it follow the sheep around all day…

    5. Oh yeah, I did that for a while — trying to find rhymes. But I totally lost what I wanted to say. There was someone on one of the Aol websites who was a very good critic and he explained about a “forced rhyme”. That’s when you’re so desperate to find a word that rhymes that you choose a synonym or irrelevant word just to force a rhyme but you totally lose the intended meaning or distort it in a weird way. Each synonym or alternate choice has a connotation that may throw the meaning totally off. “Commander, shall be attack? We have our weapons and it’s ‘a good day to die (Klingon)…” And he says, “That’s cool.” No, no, no — that may fit some rhyme scheme but it throws the drama off.

  2. I was just re-reading this and wanted to tell you that i liked the “wreck and call” – very clever. I also don’t think you’re a fool.
    Oh and i really love the ending five lines…

    1. Thanks. I’m glad you understood the reference to the cliché “at your beck and call.” But it’s really weird because I just looked it up and everybody uses the verb, beckon, but nobody uses the noun “beck” anymore which is just the name of the gesture to come.

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