What Is It?
by James Landwehr
It is still a ways away. It is going to go away, you know. It is still there. It is, or it isn’t. It is in
the mail. It is in the console. It is the perfect fit. It is me versus you. It is something we can all
look back to. It is forward-looking. It is around here somewhere. It is the American Dream. It is
far from my reach. It is only six weeks until raise time. It’s not any kind of guarantee. It is
destined for nowhere. It is written in Sanskrit. It is translated to mean something unknown. It is
in the works. It’s not in the cards. It is on my dresser. It’s not that. It’s not the way that goes. It’s
not their best work. It’s not that funny, is it? It’s not Fleetwood Mac. It’s not nice to be right all
the time. It’s not nice to boast. It’s not a miracle to me. It’s not pure. It’s not the worst thing that
could happen. It’s not who you think it is. It’s not over there, I said! It’s not impossible to go
back to school at your age. It’s not that far on the map. It’s not something you could actually get
a job doing. It’s not any of your business. It’s not my first rodeo. It’s not too bad going down. It
is third and long at the Rams’ 38 yard line. It is all a big money thing. It is guaranteed 2-day
delivery. It is neither of yours now, goddammit! It is to be read along with my will. It is such a
waste of time. It is at least something. It is over there, I said! It is neither the best, nor the worst.
It is nothing compared to yours. It is snowing! It is time to go potty, Dog Dog. It is hell getting
old. It is cold in here. It’s not cold in here, dammit! It’s not on this map anywhere. It’s not yours.
It is impossible to hear in this room. It is winding down. It is incomprehensible to me. It is poetry
wearing winter camouflage. It is getting late. It’s not like it could go on forever, could it?
James Landwehr is the author of the memoirs Cretin Boy (Burning Bulb Publishing), The Portland House: A 70’s Memoir, and Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir. His poetry collections include Written Life, Reciting from Memory, On a Road, Thoughts from a Line at the DMV, and Genetically Speaking: Poems on Fatherhood. He was the 2018/2019 poet laureate for the Village of Wales in Wisconsin.