Here’s a brief video of me reading “Wintry Mix” at the George Fox’s Singer/Songwriter Soap Box at Chico Feo on 31 January 2022. The poem is printed below.
I’m not a fan of the wan light of winter, the weakening light of day, the marrow-penetrating
wind off the river, the fallen leaves’ decay.
I’m not a fan of hypocrisy, the politician’s flipflop, the post hoc ergo propter hoc array of fallacious thinking I hear every day.
I’m not a fan of fantasy, ogres, princesses, dragons, flying carpets defying gravity, flagons containing elixirs, mages with conical caps, sages holed up in caves.
I am a fan of poetry, though, even the darkest of wintery verse, Dylan Thomas’s father’s curse, John Keats’s death lament – that shiny black hearse in reverse.
Perhaps boasting non-stop about my superhuman immune system for the last thirty years wasn’t all that judicious. Oh, you should have heard my cock-a-doodle-doing!.
My immune system makes Arnold Schwarzenegger look like Denver Pyle.
I haven’t been ill since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
An airborne virus does a one-eighty when it sees me bopping down the boulevard, etc.
And it’s true that in my thirty-four years at Porter-Gaud, I maybe missed ten or so days in total, most often because of laryngitis.
Well, comeuppance has arrived, taken off his mask, and sneezed in my face. For the last four days, when it comes to coughing fits, I’ve been giving tubercular John Keats and DH Lawrence a run for their money. Although doubly vaccinated, I drove the day before yesterday for a Covid test, which unsurprisingly was negative. Afterwards, I retreated to bed, ministered to by nurse Caroline, who throughout my malady has plied me with chicken broth, hot tea, and good advice, like not going the Singer/Soapbox Open Mic the previous Monday
Let’s face it: a summer cold isn’t exactly kidney stones or a case of the shingles (not to mention bone cancer), so the source of this whine festival lies not so much in physical discomfort but in the boredom I’ve experienced, borderline ennui. I felt so drained Wednesday afternoon, I couldn’t read anything longer than a tweet, and scrolling down my feed is disheartening, with all that talk of the decline of democracy coming from the likes of Steve Schmidt and Bill Kristol. And I have two books I’m rarin’ to read, Peter Guralnick’s Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing and James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird, which until today lay on my bedside table like a couple of concrete blocks, heavy, cumbersome. Petite misère but for a second or two, misery nonetheless.
But, hey, I must be on the mend because I’m sitting at my desk and taking this opportunity to roll my right foot over a frozen water bottle to combat a king hell case of plantar fasciitis I’ve developed walking to and from bars on Folly Beach in flip flops.
Like they, say, there’s no fool like an aged, wounded epicurean.
 No one can accuse me of click-baiting with that title.
 And no doubt you have if you know me personally.
 I also took a couple of personal days along the way, one to see the third game of the ’91 World Series, another to see the Stones in Columbia, and several during my late wife’s last week.
Missing school is a drag. It’s more work to miss than to trudge through (and I never got close enough to students infect, I’d like to think).
 I’d made a solemn promise to Kelly West I’d be there for her debut poem, and who would break a solemn vow because of what at that time was merely a scratchy throat?