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A Phoenix Fiction Writer Rising From The Ashes of Nonfiction




Poem Introduction

I wrote this in college just before I graduated. It seemed to sum up my life.

I had previously dropped out of college after my girlfriend was killed in a car accident.

Several years later, after a tour in Vietnam, I had gone back to college on the G.I. Bill.

I wrote this recognizing her death still haunted me. In retrospect her death still haunts me.



Going  Against  Convention 
by Michael T. Martin

There were some things I found
And enjoyed them while they lasted
But then I changed or they changed
Either way I had to move on. But,
They were real and I'm not sure of me.

I have known people who ran with me
Running together in harness and harmony,
But we always seemed to differ
Over which way was up, what was level.
Seems I wasn't sure, but they always were.

It is easy to understand why, to me;
They had agreed on convention, agreed.
But I did not know the convention
And when I learned I always asked why
And they always answered "because."

Two roads met in the desert with road signs
Explaining what was each way down
The roads but none explained what was
Out into the desert so I went out
Into the desert because I already knew
What was down the roads, by the signs.

Convention is something I once knew.
I was taught to dance: one-two-three-four.
Learn the steps, it's the latest convention
And I did, box step around until some cat
Came by doing the boogaloo and I said
"How do you do that?" and he looked at me funny,
"There ain't no 'how', you just do it."

Driving sixty miles per hour down a freeway
Convention says this lane has all the
Traffic going this way and the other lane
Has all the traffic going the other way
Driving sixty miles per hour down a freeway

I fell in love, the conventional way.
She was blonde, young, intelligent
And I said she was beautiful and
I told her so, conventionally, I was in love.
She smiled at me and promised tomorrows.

As those tomorrows arose in fields of life
She was water for the blooms of my dreams
Garlands of our days were woven together
Fragrances of hope and anticipation spiced
The air we breathed as eyelashes touched

Driving sixty miles per hour down a freeway
She was hit head on by an unconventional driver
Driving sixty miles per hour down the freeway
Suddenly there were no tomorrows, no dances,
Life became a desert, with no water, no love.

One road leads to here and one to there
But no road leads into the desert, no road signs
To tell you where you are going, no way is up
Or level, no one cares how you boogaloo
No freeways to drive sixty miles per hour on.

I try not to look in the desert too much
Because I'm fairly sure that's where I am
And I'd rather find myself in the valleys
Or the mountains or the seashores, I think
Somehow it's frightening to be in the desert

Looking for her is like looking for love
And looking for love is looking for self.
But looking for self is elusive like a cat
Chasing his tail, somehow I can only tell
Where I am by where I've been and gone

How does one live without her, how does
One wander without a convention for up?
But every time I've seen my footprints
They lead into the desert, every time,
Quite directly they lead into the desert.


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