“The Unwritten,” “Our Messy Shoes” and “William”

Poetry by Carvel Tefft

“The Unwritten,” “Our Messy Shoes” and “William”

The Unwritten

They don’t write many books

about when the love dies

I tell em’ to picture the river

washing over the familiar rocks

The pull we feel to abandon

any sense of continuity

Our broken compasses

Our broken bastards

I tell em’ to picture the staircase

The charming squeak of a well worn

wooden step

The patient procrastination of a homeowner

unable to say the words

Until the foot falls through

“Maybe I was better without you?”

Nothing lived under the timely lies

and bedroom negotiations

Only the frigid image

of a running clock

Chasing all the words out of your mouth

I tell em’ to picture a room

In the type of darkness that leaves

poets without metaphor

And me without you

I tell em’ to close their eyes and listen

to the humble silence of empty bottles

and unmade beds

I tell em’ what I know

the little, the miniscule

of what I know

And I tell em’

To find the book

Of when the foot falls through

Our Messy Shoes

I read somewhere

that men are addicted to property

I say I’m addicted

to the thought

you won’t leave

I say I’m addicted to the voice

which stands where we’re supposed to sit

and tastes the color outside our invisible lines

I had a friend

fall in love with pills

Our homeless throats

beg for poison

I’m starting to wonder if

I should keep giving it

my spare change

I would like to think

home stayed in my back pocket

with a swiss army knife and a candy

But the sailors

tie their boats to a different port every night

So maybe all we know

is all we have

To lose and to leave

are twins separated at birth

And we can only hope

to recognize all that identical difference

They told me it’s rude

to stare at the ground

But a boy could forget to tie his shoes

and trip into all the gray

we carefully ignore

And my ship was built with your wood

I’ll hear your morning doubts

in the creaks underneath my feet

But I can’t hear the wind in my sails

or the boys’ shrieks

about their loose shoestrings

I read somewhere

that men are addicted to property

I say I’m addicted

to what we leave

William

He,

Who lost his brain in the clay

His mother stretched

And pulled with us

He,

Who knew right from left

The way we know yes from no

With a healthy skepticism

I’m not here to say he’s a better man

But he knew how to burn words

And the smoke never reached me

But it’s funny how clear he looks backwards

The way his hair ran from his head

Like it was searching for a new home

A new something

The way his chin carried a righteous ignorance

Oh, the danger of learning not to care

I’m not here to say he’s a better man

But his colors flew

While their words fell flat

Fell still

I’m not saying he’s a better man

But we’re not all happy poems

And I like to read about the boy

Who grew old

Putting one foot in front of the other

I’m not saying he’s a better man

He,

Was nothing but the river

Recklessly running to the rocks

Begging for a feeling

He,

Was nothing but the wood

Burning to feel black

To feel used

He,

Was nothing

But a better man

About the Author

Carvel Tefft

Carvel Tefft writes poems about growing up and everything in between. He just began submitting his poetry online and shares his work to hopefully make someone feel. His biggest inspiration is Charles Bukowski.