Here’s another new poem that I finalized just recently and debuted at an open mic night this week. I’m calling it “Secret Identity.”
Question for discussion: do you prefer poems with a definite rhyme or rhythm (like this one will be), or ones written in free verse (like the last one I posted)? I feel like free verse is more “in vogue” these days, and so for a while most of what I wrote was free verse. But personally, I find that when I write for spoken word or specifically for performance (as I have been doing lately), I like to go back to consistent rhyme and rhythm if I can. Having a rhythm and a pattern or beat helps me to keep my pace when the audible sounds are the focus more than the written word.
Anyway, here’s “Secret Identity.” I hope you enjoy it.
My shirt and tie may cover me.
These glasses hide my eyes.
But still this outer man you see
is merely a disguise.
By day I speak on words and books.
Your minds I try to fill.
I may give disapproving looks
or tell you to sit still.
But underneath there’s so much more
than what you could dream of:
a soldier fighting holy war,
a heart that’s full of love
and far-too-idealistic hopes
in my heroic quest
to talk of more than tomes and tropes
but make your life feel blessed.
Behind the desk, behind the beard,
behind the endless puns
lies something more than first appeared:
deep care for broken ones.
I see you there, alone and lost
like sheep, a shepherd needing.
You don’t know I’d pay any cost
to simply stop the bleeding.
You’ll never know how much I care
or how I long to hold you
or how I wish I could be there
though outwardly I scold you.
Oh, how I longed to draw you near
like a hen unto her chicks,
to chase off every hurt and fear—
to shield, to heal, to fix.
Of burdens I would bear the brunt—
but alas, I am unable,
for I stand up here at the front
while you sit at your table.
For after all, I’m only one
flawed, finite, mortal creature,
and when it all is said and done,
I’m just a high school teacher.
But I’ll always be here on your side.
I’ll always be your fan.
I couldn’t save you if I tried,
but I’ll do what I can.