By Don McLeod                                                                                                               

Excerpt from the full-length poetry book (Leaping With Your Legs Locked)

Leaping With Your Legs Locked
(section 4)

the retarded boy down the street
said hey I want to be somebody
I knew what he meant

but I didn’t know
what to say
it’s why I play poker
but only with strangers
whiling away the hours
in cautious relaxation
watching the little numbers
flip by
waiting for royalty
to bestow me
with riches and a chance
to be somebody
my friend likes her doctor
because he hugs her
can’t recall that
ever happening to me
I get so many ideas
for things I could do
without accreditation
body language advisor
for up-scale businesses
personal zen coach
for the NFL
sell blank autograph cards
through the mail
write a self-help guide

for aging strippers
own an all-night bookstore
which specializes in haiku
and literary journals
that nobody buys
be an ambassador of movement
to explain the U.S. to aliens

maybe I’ll get a slice of land
raise peanuts
and bamboo
sketch nude models
maybe-sell condoms
and Dodger dogs
drink some whiskey
and be somebody
all over again

things I truly regret
not telling mom and dad
I loved them
or getting them a gravestone
things I don’t regret
but probably should
not answering the phone
liking living alone
not walking the dog
watching Butt slammers 10

the porno tape
letting my insurance run out
doing that waitress in 72
without getting her name
calling my ex
a crazy screaming
psycho bitch
after she hit m
for touching her
cassette tape
and taking acid
on the day I pitched
in a championship
college baseball game-
that’s about it
except for buying
that TV memory course
I forget where it is
and those last three shots
of Goldschlager
the night I fell
on my head
on the bricks
and then called a cab
from my own house
to go back for my car
at a bar
I’d been driven
home from
yeah that’s about it

time’s flying by
on my Salvador Dali

exploding pocket watch
calendar page
I thought it was
still Saturday
but now I see it’s Sunday
maybe that’s why
I didn’t get any mail
things to do today
return 123 back phone calls
send cat calendar
to Japan
wash the dog 
spray the termites
in my bedroom door
or better yet
meditate them
into someone else’s house
pay back taxes
get a part-time girlfriend
seek partial enlightenment
and nirvana if time
cleaning cat box
and make a dental appointment
then go to instant university

and for $39 learn how to
clear up my clutter
do Qi Gong
go to 2-day film school
finishing reading
How to Drive Your Woman Wild in Bed
all between
6:30 and 9:00 p.m.
on the same day
remember our values
come from writers
not politicians
so be careful
what you read
hurry up
give that wedding gift
to the soon-to-be divorced couple
but have faith
in what you can’t figure out
make me stop
spouting slogans
if I don’t know
what they mean
don’t take me serious

make me humorous
the laughing Buddha burps
and sticks
his finger in his belly
I pop a breath mint
think about tenure
and buying a pipe
the wind blows
and the brittle branch breaks
but the weeping willow
just bends and sways
and now a nonsense parable
a young monk wanders for years
in search of the wise old master
at last he finds him
sitting by a wide river
next to a wooden boat
the young man says
I’ve been searching for years
what is the meaning of life
but the old master just sits
staring out in silence
so the young monk
cuts off his right arm
and gives it to the old man
there he says

now you must know I’m sincere
and again he asks the master
what is the meaning of life
the old man picks up the arm
and hits the young monk
over the head with it
then he gets into the boat
and using the arm as a paddle
he rows to the other side
the young monk gets
his answer
and the old master
gets where he is going
it’s the going
I was getting at and I think
I got an answer
this is the last page
and by not planing
to put anything in
I’ve left nothing out
not even the kitchen sink
a mind made up
is a terrible thing
to waste a mime
you need a silencer

            old man
in the cafe
crumbling crackers


            tom cat
eating a Cardinal
others keep on singing

and so it goes
like pincher-bound lobsters
in a holding tank
we too feel restrained
and know not why
every day is a good day
eat your rice
wash your bowl

About the Author: