Before I became a hospital administrator/quality improver/researcher/professor, I was a happy bohemian. In my high school years, I lurked in graveyards, performed as an extra in opera productions, and loitered, dressed all in black, outside of Bogart’s. (Cincinnatians will appreciate that last one.)
Infatuated with language, I endlessly sipped poetry from dusty, second-hand collections and scribbled my own verse. My senior quote sums up my 18-year-old personality.
These aspects of self never really abandoned the adult version of me, but they were subdued, actively hidden, while I focused elsewhere. I drove with only one headlight for a long time.
In Walden, Thoreau talks about the wells of our creativity filling in with silt as we age, and over the last year, I have been digging out.
Last week, my excavations released the first poem I had written in decades. It tickles me that it was, of course, about death.
These lines prompted me to go back and look at some of the poetry I had published in my high school’s poetry magazine, Gleam.
Let’s just say it is not as brilliant as I thought it was at the time. Still, I am glad to have a record of the writings of my younger self. I’ll be a good sport and share a few with you.
First, let me show you my favorite Gleam cover, painted by Bill Williams, who still knocks around Cincinnati playing fantastic music. (The link is to his dad’s band.)
Next, is an untitled poem of mine that was part of an illustration drawn by Danyel Johnson, my best friend at the time.
Following is kind of a prose poem… I guess? As you can see, I was irritated by a typo introduced by the editors. That edit is as old as the magazine.
I suppose I was still displeased by the quality of the editing, a year later.
In alignment with my new passion for uncovering Cincinnati history, let me point out that the Gleam was first published in 1896. I am honored to participate in such a long-standing publication.
Thanks for joining me on a walk down my literary memory lane. I look forward to your company for future endeavors!