The Fish That Couldn’t Swim

Once upon a time
(setting up the climb)
There was a fish that couldn’t swim.
            Just ask him.
“My fins are such a terror
    Never will I cruise the sea
    My life is but an error
Woe is me…”

This failing pleased the osprey
(made his predatory day)
“A fish that flops on shore
    Pleases to the core.
    As other bearers of the flesh
    It satisfies the appetite
    Yet avails me a catch
With a minimum of flight!”

And so, without a pause
The osprey swooped and bore its claws
The fish was clenched with fear
            Shed a tear
“Let this day not be my last
    His hunger not decide my fate
    How the die is cruelly cast!
Instinct: do not wait!”

And this is what the osprey saw:
(the breathless denouement)
A rippling splash where once was food
His prey had changed its attitude
“I can swim! look at me!
    Yet now the task is harder
    I’ve got to learn to breathe

And soon…”


Copyright 2008 by Michael Marsters.
All rights reserved.

Pretentions, Perhaps

If you need smaller conversation from me
Don’t hesitate to appeal my generosity.
I am not as unbreachable as I may seem.

For this intricate and ornate wall
Of poetry erected amidst our common space,
A quieter soul eludes your sight.

Words are tremendously beautiful;
However far simpler things are staked
To contentment.

Perhaps it is the duality of man
To wager his fate upon the fertility of pretentions
Then vindicate his compassion in tranquility.


Copyright 2014 by Michael Marsters.
All rights reserved.


Love is a fallen angel
with ever ascending wings, heavily captured
as it reaches out toward that lost infinity . . .

Her eyes and words
met mine, and she fell into herself,
although I could not ask why;
the terror
of anticipation persists, above us,
a deep, all-permeating blue,
to soar . . .

Perhaps I overstate
for how easily, how willingly we fall in love.
My beliefs, my delicate conjectures,
they must expand . . .


Copyright 2014 by Michael Marsters.
All rights reserved.

Untitled (Writing)

has taken a lot out of me.
Well, what should I gather
to replace what was lost?
Satisfaction, perhaps?
Though I’ve never known
        where to seek it.
I suppose that is why
we invent new words.
Like vital fluids, the stories
must flow, relentless and
without end.


Copyright 2014 by Michael Marsters.
All rights reserved.

I Just Want to be Needed

How many dreams have perished
underneath those soul-slowing words?
“I just want to be needed . . . “
from what has been given freely
to smiling bodies who are absconded
and never to return, to swoop down
as angels of a better nature?

Nothing so buoyant comes on command.
“Oh, I know.” Your eyes will convey
the quiet terror every sleepless night
as you watch the sky bear down upon you
without regard for eons . . .

Yes, the darkness is thick; the stars are
still a blank slate. The sun will rise like a cry
for restoration: “I need to be needed . . . “
Well, be ready when love comes out from
the pure blue; It doesn’t linger.

Every selfish predilection of yours will cry foul:
“This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be . . . “
And then you’re gone, dispersed in an instant,
content to be lighter than air.


Copyright 2014 by Michael Marsters.
All rights reserved.

Spaghetti Logic (aka Maturity)

Rule No. 7
Peace and contentment are the only worthy ambitions.

Rule No. 3
Let words speak; let actions dictate.

Rule No. 5
Never compromise.

Rule No. 1
Dream big; live bigger.

Rule No. 4
Success is not given; it is taken.

Rule No. 2
Learn; unlearn what you’ve learned; then learn again.

Rule No. 6
Disregard rules 1 through 5.


Copyright 2014 by Michael Marsters.
All rights reserved.

Use This One Weird “Trick” to Improve Your Lovelife

“Just call this a self-ode,
for no one could love me more than me,”
he announced with a broad gesture
at the expansiveness of his ego
which I had generously agreed to tour.

“This monument took great pains to build,”
he continued in an almost spiritual oration,
“Love is nothing if not sacrifice.
Of course, no one else who helped build
this great edifice wanted to live in it.”

Then his demeanor shifted gravely.
“What did they expect from me?
My worthy self-confidence attracted them
to begin with. However, they wanted,
nay demanded my affection too.
A weakness. Shouldn’t they know?
I am not a man to give things for free!”

Finally, I asked him why he’d invited me here.
“For the future,” he answered magnanimously,
“The cruel veil of history will eventually
fall over this place as it will my bones.
It must remain occupied. I need your attention.
Someone should ever tell the tale of this place.”

Not I. No, definitely not.
As I drove home from that monstrous gallery,
that exhibition of casual nihilism,
an urge welled up in me, compelled me
to seek out someone lonely and full of sorrow
so I could wrap my arms around them
and whisper words of comfort.

Perhaps I felt guilt from indulging that madman,
from touring that hall of gratuitous suffering
which had stoked my empathy into a blaze.

And perhaps
I was merely covering my own sadness
as I drove that road back alone.


Copyright 2014 by Michael Marsters.
All rights reserved.

Writing, An Apology — Addendum

“Words ought to be a little wild, for they are
the assault of thoughts on the unthinking.”
–John Maynard Keynes

Therefore we graced them with our voices,
Rode upon arc’ing, upon diving melodies,
Firmed the contours of the world–fascination
–And made no enmity in the phrasing . . .


Copyright 2014 by Michael Marsters.
All rights reserved.