Tag Archives: Poetry

My Intellectual Biography

14 Feb

by Terry Rachel

I’m a plant, but I’d never repeat

a confidence. I wouldn’t betray, hope to slay,

get in your way. I’m all that it’s about and

yet know nothing. I’m high water but

I’d never let you drown. I’m brave bordering

on idiocy.

I’ve been blued, unglued,

and charged for example.

I’m fallen, forgotten and fragile.

I saved your skin,

lied and compromised.

I’ve bitten off more

than I can chew and been spat

out by others better than you.

I’ve been adored, loved, and put on

a shelf.

I’ve been escorted, reported, and


I’ve been jailed, nailed,

ridiculed and railed.

I’ve been Black, Puerto Rican, and poor.

I’ve been a tissue that wiped snot

from your nose, the tears in your eyes.

I’ve been bandaged, bottled-up and broke.

I’ve been the key that opened doors

to your fears.

I’ve been the party with the lights out,

the formal dinner,

the take-out,

the 4 am diner.

I’ve been controlled, cajoled and caged.

I’ve been the face facing the fist,

I’ve been the back that held a whip.

I’ve been the long highway, the sharp turn,

the dead-end.

I’ve been loved, cherished and left.

I’ve been wind, water, and mountain streams.

I’ve been chicken cooked and cleaned.

I’ve been saved, salvaged and sugar-coated.

I’ve the hands of hard work,

the eyes of a believer.

I’ve sought truth and strangeness in

good reading.

I’ve been the sinner, the saint, and was

once followed by Jesus.

I’ve been July 4th, the blasting radio, and

the early morning vacuum.

I’ve been summer and the sounds it holds,

I’ve been a chandelier, a flashlight and

a faulty bulb.

I’ve been sickness, despair and death.

I’ve lingered long alone and jailed in

running thoughts of regret of

what I could not save nor salvage.

I am the book that you can’t put down,

I’m the book that was passed around.

I’ve listened and then ran out of time.

I’ve checked in and checked out,

been passed over, been ruled out.

I’ve choked, gasped, and couldn’t

come up for air.

I am the service counter, your

customer rep.

I am the fruit that puckers your cheeks,

I’ve been the design of your mind,

strong and kind.

I am temptation. I’ve been a puppet,

and the last person to make a

joke at your expense.

I am a cat and a dog,

I am not a fish.

I am butter melting on warm pancakes.

I am the cherry on your tongue.

I am smooth, squeaky and clean.

I’ve been sheltered, battered and mean.

I’ve been the brunt of jokes, the

joker and the fool.

I’ve suffered fools when

no one else cared.

I’ve bussed it, carpooled, hitched it.

I’ve orgied, three-somed, backseated some.

I’ve pretzeled, potato-chipped and

popcorned fun.

I’ve run miles, won ribbons and

been trophied.

I’m long limbed and short of breath.

In my eyes I have seen your

blues, browns, and greens.

I’ve bad deed it and I’ve

James Deaned it –

better than most.

I’ve broken up fights,

fought and fretted.

I’m a writer no one reads.

I am the seed, I am the weed.

I’m a jumper, a bowler, a

coaster rider roller.

I am oak, old van Gogh,

I hear nothing.

I am brass, polished or not.

I’ve fine China’d and flatware’d it.

I’ve paper-plated and aluminum

foiled it.

I’ve sung out your praises

despite your chord.

I’ve danced, wall-flowered and


I came back, hit the note but

missed the mark.

I’ve Rome’d and Paris’d it and

loved in Swiss sheets.

I’ve hammed it up with

tomato and rye.

I’ve spoken with babies, old men

and ladies.

I’ve spoken with God, the prophets,

and the saints.

I’ve honored thy mother and father


have given grace.

Somewhere ages and ages hence…

Somewhere in my mind’s eye, I

shall be telling this with a sigh.

When I am asked,

I will summon you to

tell me that all is not lost,

all is not forgotten.

There is a certain glory in

that I have led a full life.

Face me then – see me or not at all.

This is “My Biography”

one of the wounds,

in the wounds of geography.

Copyright February 16, 2023, Terry Rachel