Near Miss

Went long.
Still missed
the catch — or rather,
the ball. Caught
nothing.
Didn’t have
to throw it back.

But carrying
it around
was a strain.
My arms still ache
from all that lack.

*

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

10 Comments


  1. I’ve been reading you for a couple years, Dave, and you can still do this to me, whup me upside the head so my ears ring.

    I love this poem, and it’s outside your usual ambit. (Saying something, because your usual ambit is pretty damn roomy.)

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  2. Hey, thanks, y’all – I wasn’t expecting much of a response to this one. You’re right, Dale, it is outside my usual ambit (great word!). I was going to do something more from the point-of-view of Cairn Man, but this came out instead.

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  3. Didn’t know the narrow line could hold so much. I like Dale’s comment about being whupped upside the head till your ears ring. What greater compliment can a poet receive? (I think.)

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  4. Thanks Dave for putting out what is in you! It’s great that you didn’t let cairn-man dictate the poem to you AND that you kept cairn-man in the post.

    I’ve been thinking lately, struggling with actually– around the problem of doing a lot really well and yet suffering from doing way too much. Doing a lot well unfortunately doesn’t mean that I’ve fulfilled all that I’ve promised. There is always the sound of balls dropping in the midst of the productivity and overwhelm.

    If I project my issue onto the poem I can see “the ball dropped” as an opportunity to give up on stuff. Certainly there is an initial ache, suffering from “all that lack.” Maybe this is akin to the suffering that comes with giving up an addiction.

    Maybe the next poem in a would-be series would point to the freedom that might come after the suffering.

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  5. Dave is back.
    Dave is back.
    Dave is back.
    (sung 3 2 1; ie E D C)

    I so do like the clipped prosidy, fragments begrudged from the concentrating act of poking a mud puddle with a stick. The I don’t have time to explain it all weariness/breathlessness. The edition of a strobe but here moments select themselves. With each turn we find ourselves on top of the ball and the lack of exposition thickens and multiplies. Animation through stop-moment freeze frame.

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  6. Geez, you guys are too kind.

    Didn’t know the narrow line could hold so much.

    I’ve done a few other things in narrow stanzas, and they’ve been pretty successful, I think. It really forces the writer to concentrate on every word!
    Shai, I know what you mean about dropping the ball, though I am far from a workaholic. I’m glad that the poem is flexible enough to allow projections of the sort you have in mind. Thanks for sharing your reactions.

    Bill – That’s an interesting description of the process behind the creation of nearly every poem, I think.

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  7. Late comment as usual. I loved this. I’m a great fan of the narrow stanza & find that nearly everything I write tries to organise itself thus. This works beautifully.

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