Search this website

At the Neighborhood Watch

View All Poems

At the Neighborhood Watch

At the Neighborhood Watch

Not many know this but the British Romantic poet John Keats, who died tragically young, had a financially successful brother who lived long and was buried in Louisville, KY.  It’s the short-lived brother who surfaces in this poem.

"At the Neighborhood Watch" by John Estes

Somewhere no one
Is thinking of
Me and I am happy

Lonesome ain’t no strait
Compared to
The woodpeckered knockholes
On the half-dying tree

Or why I’m kind of fine
With being filler
And prepare my little place
Of imaginative smallness
Without respite
In love with the void
And the content-needy

And yes even the skaters
The ramp-jumping
Punks who radicalize
The old folks who
Bang on doors
And shout their slogans

All I ask is to be left be
So I can labor
Over my shot-for-shot
Remake of Keats’ urn poem
But they call me callous
Heartless even
And perhaps I guess I am
But the creek it rises

"At the Neighborhood Watch" by John Estes first appeared in Jellyroll (Spring 2010). Used with permission of the author.

John Estes directs the creative writing program at Malone University in Canton. He is author of Kingdom Come (C&R Press, 2011), and two chapbooks: Breakfast with Blake at the Laoco├Ân (Finishing Line Press, 2007) and Swerve, which won a National Chapbook Fellowship from the Poetry Society of America.