"The Leaning Tower of Poems" poem by J. Scotte Barkan (USA). Digital Collage by Lidia Chiarelli (Italy)



My father, the poet, asks for my help once again.


He asks me to enter the room where the magic happens.


All about are boxes upon boxes.


Some are sturdy but many if not most are not, crumpling under the weight 

of poetic thoughts and ideas that separate us from the animals.


The younger towers stand fairly strong compared to their elders, 

which bend and lean perilously over the precipice of the floor far below.


I am asked to help rehabilitate what can’t seemingly be recovered.


But my wise father calls out instructions of what goes where.


I shake my head, but as the good son I’ve always yearned to remain in his eyes, 

I do as I’m told.


I pick up the poor broken-down boxes, spilling out papers of many colors 

and put them where they belong.


Arranged and rearranged yet again, so that one day they will become 

what they aspire to be.


Books standing proudly on shelves, and occasionally finding their way 

into the hands of those who have the depth and introspection to absorb the words that somehow have survived to live on, perhaps far beyond when they emerged from the womb of their creator, and so on.


When I have temporarily finished the task,

I turn around and still shake my head at the landscape and try to push back 

at the inevitability of things staring back at me.


Yet my father just stands there smiling, for order to the disorder has been restored.


Until the next tower that requires my father’s son’s services.


J. Scotte Barkan