Nine Twelve
(Excerpts from a Would-be Poet's Journal)

By Neil Mincey

It's hard to believe the first summer's
nearly over since we became lovers
last April in Paris, where I met you
on business. Our Euro office
teemed with meaningless activity;
It was amazing how deftly you
stepped through the corridor into
a choral pandemonium of
dissonant disharmony where
your tapping on a chestnut covered
lily-white shoulder, tuned you
right in to the key of me.

Today, after lingering within the pews
at the United Methodist Church of a
God we never knew thereŠ

We'll drive into a park of lost souls
where we'll lunch on the barbecue and
ruffled chips that I packed, then
I'll revel under a devil red sun and the
blue Jersey sky, as you paddle down
Black River's thin, unforgiving line.

You're off to work this morning,

But I can enjoy one more yawning
solstice day to reflect on this place
where we've come, circumspective in our
ninth floor apartment, walking through
the threshold of our empty spare bedroom,

Soon the dresser drawer will tilt halfway
open, enfolding our first-born child
who will cry, reaching upward for my
milky narcotic from once nubile,
now puerperal nipples of bliss.

Today is the day I go see the doctor for
a progress report on our pregnancy.
She'll give me the once over, inquire how
I'm feeling, the only problem I'm presently
dealing with is my boss who didn't want
me to show up so late.

"Don't obstetricians work on the weekends?"
I just smiled; knowing the place won't come
undone, if I wander through their doorway
at a quarter to one.

I'm thinking back to that day nigh three
months in the past, when the tape color
changed from green into blue, and your
sanguine face tried a new hue of white.

Later we discreetly discussed our new
choices to gamble on and now that we're
adjusting to a life-changing decision for
sleepless nights, teething pain and sticking
diaper pins, my prankster physician
politely informs me that you and I
are now joyously expectant of twins.

Nothing in particular leaps
to mind this day, yet it
must be special somewhere,
so I'll look it up on the net.

Well, it just so happens to be the
triumphant Jane Addams' birthday,
and it's a day of national unity
in Pablo's tortured Chile.

In Islamabad, they celebrate
The Defense of their
Beloved Pakistan, while the
liberated Sikhs in northern
Bangladesh are beset with a
fever of the deadly ANS.

It's Friday and at two
I'm taking off early to
meet you for our drive
to my parents' farmhouse;
a mile and a half from the
Whitman bridge; exit ramp
Ninety-five, rural route one.

A twenty-fifth time I'll pass
the simple white cross my
father hammered in the ditch
for my mother's only son.
If it happens that at least one
of our brood is a bouncing boy,
then I have just chosen his name.

Waking up to find you
touching me in my teenage bed,
with a cock a doodle-doing at
six in the morning as I hear daddy

Outside opening the freshly-painted
barn door, letting his Alderney cows loose
for resolute grazing on their eternally
desiderated salt meadow grass.

My headboard has never made quite
this sound before, as it cuts signature
rivulets into the hardened but malleable,
antique parqueted, pinewood floor.

Winding away from the
family farm, gallivanting
northward to your valley stream
harborage of a home, a three story
bungalow looking out on the sand.
Your handprints in dust layers have
aged five months and are likely to grow
even older, because we'll waste only
an hour or two and then shamble on
backward to my side of town
where the numinous future awaits.

One more monochord Monday to
lurch through as I ponder my
sacrosanct similarity to a slightly
superior, and more well-known poet,
Though you'd never know it if you
could inhabit her archaic time.

All of my notebooks; hermetically sealed,
my Manhattan office; a sacrilegious
shield that wields a weapon of comfort
and status, though perhaps

One magnificent Aquarian mercenary
with a more than sectarian palate, will
someday uncover my somewhat disputable
talent at wordplay, and kick aspirant
movement to my poetastic visions.

Dream away,
my quixotic Id Emily.

I only have a small amount of time
to write this, then I must rush right
out the door and head down to the
subway and it's up to the room with the
black conference table for round robin
discussions on where our company's
leading or being left out to rust or
How we can crush the competition.

But my heart couldn't be farther from
the direction I'm going and I need to
take a second to hurriedly scrawl down
my endlessly growing love for you my
Sweet, I'll be home tonight just as fast
as I can beat a path to our door.





Author's Note: During the first days after Sept. 11th, like many people, I felt moved to write about the tragedy. However, the proliferation of works by poets everywhere motivated me to first conduct research in the hope that an unusual piece might be born. In early October, I was inspired with an idea of a person, perhaps an executive or high-level office worker at the World Trade Center, who in reality is a frustrated poet. An obsessive personality, she maintains a childhood habit of keeping a diary, writing something each morning about the day's plans, or reflecting on previous events. This wasn't the poem I meant to construct; the result of the reams of articles and editorials I'd gathered. But for all the creative people who perished in the disaster, this was what I was compelled to write. We've all suffered an incredible loss. The murder of all those vital beings was the real evil committed. The attack on America was a terrible thing, but the nation will recover its dignity. All who lost family and friends, and those of us who have been damaged by the horror of that day will find recovery to be a much longer, more painful process.

Author Biography
I began to see myself as a poet during adolescence. This perception has continued through to today at 43. However, my professional artistic expressions have been within the realm of music. I played drums or keyboards, and composed for various rock groups from 1973 until 1986. If the limited success I enjoyed in this field ever mutated into a fulfilling recording career, I planned to parlay that acclaim into a second, more soul enriching life as a published poet. As that dream neared realization, I became disillusioned about my goals, though I never lost my vision of myself as a writer. But I did allow financial concerns to delay progress in the quest to get any of my poetic work published.
Nevertheless, I continued to write at a furious pace all through my musical career, though my rhythm was broken during the mid-nineties because of a period of emotional trauma.

Except for entering two contests in the early seventies, (I placed 2nd and 3rd) I had never submitted any of my poetry until earlier this year, when an illness/epiphany forced me to examine myself, motivating me to write again, and at last expose myself through submissions, workshops, and the like.

I currently reside in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I've lived for the last five years. My formative years (well, at least my early ones) were spent in the lovely little burg of Columbus, Indiana, when my early musical forays ran concurrent with my first attempts at expressive verbiage.

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