I Can’t Say Bye Yet

What can I say

knowing tonight

is your last night


a miracle appears

The doctors


life support

You are talking

holding my hand

giving me hugs

What is on your mind

no, no

I should not


You are fighting your war

the cancer

attempted to

take over

& tonight

the experts say

will be your

final bye

to life as you

have known it

I pray for



that only

we can

believe for

(Jim Wortham, March 4, 2022)

I will remember our long deep kisses

She tells me

“I know your age

but for me

your age is only a number”

This happens


I am gracious

and thank them

for their sincere


I can’t really say this to them,

but you are in your 20s

and you

will change your mind

I may be able to keep up

with dancing

watching movies

and having fun

but what you don’t realize

I’m on a rapid ride that

you do not want to

take with me

My face still looks good to you

but in 10 or 15 years

you will refer to me

as your older brother

or father

Thanks for the dances

we’ve had &

thanks for the

long deep kisses

I’ll never forget

Buses don’t stop here anymore

I depended on &

knew the times

buses would

pass by

buses going to all kinds of places

to work

to gatherings

to visit lonely people

to friends’ homes

places to eat

I bought a car

never needed a bus again

until I became disabled

no longer able to drive

Now buses

don’t come by anymore

there are no places I go

and no people to visit

(Jim Wortham, January 30, 2022)

Do it another day

It seems

each day I will do it . . .

you know, I mean

those items on a list

those things that need to be done

but you just don’t have

to do the tasks


so days go by

weeks go by

I’ll tell you these things

are not fun to do

or I would do them

I’m wondering when

the right day will come

and if I will know

it’s the right day

to complete all those things

on my lists

A Freezing January Nite

I wonder on zero degree nights like tonight

why I gave up my jobs

to live from my writing

This year has been the worse

Editors want submissions sent by

PDF files

and I’m stuck in the days

where I mail typed manuscripts

with a return stamped envelopes

in case of it being rejected

I’m making enough for dollar store food

and keeping a heater on

Winter won’t last forever

but I’m not returning to work

I’ll remain in this worn-out house

and grow plants to eat in the spring

I’m waiting for that big day

soon to come

(I hope)

of becoming discovered

by a big publisher

making me a household name

in the writing world

(Jim Wortham, January 28, 2022)

Snow & Ice in Janauary

Having lost my home

and belongings

betting in the stock market

Each day & night

I look for a warm place

During the days

there are stores

to shop in

sometimes getting a candy bar

and drink

During nights

I go to an old falling down

house– no one has lived in

for years

I keep my belongings there

and an old but warm

sleeping bag

I’m taking a day and night

at a time

The Forgotten Poet

Will I be given a second chance?

My life as a poet ended in 1978

when I stopped writing

Book sales had declined

I was sleeping on park benches

Eating leftover food from restaurants

Once I wrote 17 books of love poetry

Through the years I met many

who bought my poetry books

For years letters have arrived

from readers wanting to connect

Now it seems the lights are turned off

Until recently

Now I receive requests

from new readers

wishing to visit me

I welcome their visits

Age does not seem to matter

I don’t look as good as I once did

But my heart is still as young

I receive kind letters from

Sweden, Canada, France, and England

Friendships have flourished

Many readers from the states

have visited

We dine and chat with easy laughter

I notice sales of my books increase

when they return home

and show my poetry books to friends

bookstores and libraries

Maybe once again

it will be like when I was in my

20’s and 30’s

Back then I lived from

the sales of my poetry books

It may be happening again

thanks to my being open to visitors

I never believed this could happen

but a lady named Gypsy Mercer

published 4 of my books

during the past 2 years

and then magic happened

It created unbelievable sales

I once dated a beautiful girl named Gypsy

She knew how to do magic

Yesterday, an 82-year-old man wrote me

to say he read my four new books

He said I made memories of his youth

come alive making memories return from his youth

He had bought all 4 books and said

he was sending them to me to autograph

So you might be asking

am I getting rich from book sales?

Almost, I am able to buy cheese, crackers & wine

I am happy

My books are now once again selling

why i write bad poetry

I got this letter today

okay, I’ll level with you

I’ve received many letters

over the years

more than 27

English professors

saying my poetry is

just plain bad

cause I don’t rhyme

and don’t know how

a poem is constructed

I write back

and say I don’t like

my poetry either

I tell them

I never had a poetry class

I was taught by

friendly bums

with teeth missing

sitting on the benches

in front of my local

Louisville Public Library

these bums shared

poems they wrote on

torn paper sacks

saved from buying liquor

They shared their secrets

how they wrote notes & poems

as we shared liquor

& passed the bottle

back and forth for sips

we laughed at their poems

they taught me all

I needed to know

these 27 (or more) Professors wrote

basically the same words:


(the professors even write

“no wonder we can’t get

students to enjoy poetry”)

I tell them

I can’t stop myself

It’s just what I do

I write bad stuff

like car mechanics

and plumbers

who say they fixed

your problem

charge you money



and you discover

nothing was ever

fixed for more

than one day

I ain’t that bad

I refund money

if a reader

does not like

any book I write

now that I’m thinking

about it

I’ve never

had a poetry book


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