Michael Kroth

I Stepped Outside Myself
I put on a sweater and a coat and a hat
And stepped outside myself.

Yes, I’d been outside before,
But never more than an arm’s length away

I’d been beside myself, many times,
But rarely outside myself,
And when I looked back
I saw a rather quaint, a bit old-fashioned,
A closed in gingerbreadhouse
kind of place.

But once I’d stepped outside myself
just far enough I couldn’t walk back
through that door again
though it seemed so dreadfully safe.

I walked away.

I was glad for the accoutrements as it was cold outside
and the wintry mistiness made everything seem so hazy.
Looking back I wondered if I would ever find myself again.  

I shivered, and moved on.

Time Misspent Lament
Every day too short 
to finish what I wish 
Every day too filled 
with taking sitz and pish  
Too much sleep required 
for constant overwork 
Too much sleep a waste 
like dancing when it’s twerk 
Ev’ry brush of hair 
or showering excesses 
Ev’ry razor’s shave 
swiped only to impress’us 
Every phish that’s caught 
on rod and reel electric 
Every Trojan horse 
deleted quite frenetic 
Time goes by anon 
without or with intention 
Time cares not one whit 
our thought or inattention. 

A Frozen Tableau
Snowy white backdrop
with trees and other
like cars, and houses,
and people walking by
sticking darkly out
like brush strokes on
a painting.
Like a frozen tableau
which will be gone
with the sun, the
brush strokes remaining
and the backdrop strangely
Sometimes the things which
seem the most permanent,
are the most transitory,
and the most provisional,
well, the most durable.
 Hard to guess which is which
until your backdrop has melted away.
...and then it's hard to trust what's left.
For fear those brush strokes will fade
as well.
In what do we place our trust?
What cannot be taken/stolen/
plundered from our cabinet, our
secret hiding places deep inside
that we don't allow anyone else
to see,
our treasure, our
little dreams
about the world
we thought
mom and dad
gave to us?
Once that treasure trove
our little dream of what life
was supposed to be like
is plundered,
what is left
for us to build a life around?
Because sometimes that's the real question,
isn't it?
Underneath snowfall scenery and
rivulets of the melted lie the immutable.
That which doesn't change if nature
is left to its own devices.
The unassailable
cycle of regeneration and growth,
the ecology of the human psyche,
the need for love and human touch,
the need to love, and to touch,
the need to learn, always learn
and explore, the inborn unconditionality
of motherlove to child and childlove to
motherdear, the sacredness
of each human.
Hands broken from pummeling frozen
backdrops which melted away
leaving only water to pound against
nothing solid, only ephemerality
to punch against, no satisfying
crunch of hand against something
which hurts, because it all hurts
more because of the powerlessness
of hitting nothing which hits back. And so punching
oneself into bloody unconsciousness
takes the place of lashing the world.
Snow comin' down now, like the sweet
rain which washes the dirt away, the
regeneration begins, and then freezes,
pretending to be reality, an end-product
for awhile, when it's only
a part of the cycle.
I have put my heart upon the frozen
backdrop and had to rip it away,
I have felt the cleansing wash of tender
flakes of cold against my cheek take the
pain away.
I sit still watching snowy backdrops
or melted streams of icy water, or sunlit
days with rain chasing after. I am me,
despite all, and the cycle of life I face
changes not, though
the frozen backdrop tableau
seems awfully cold this year.
In a little while it will melt and
the cycle of composition
begin again.
If I'll let it.


Michael Kroth is an Associate Professor in the Adult, Organizational Learning and Leadership Program at the University of Idaho – Boise.  He has written or co-authored five books including Transforming Work: The Five Keys to Achieving Trust, Commitment, and Passion in the Workplace (2001); The Manager as Motivator (2006); Career Development Basics (2009); and Managing the Mobile Workforce: Leading, Building, and Sustaining Virtual Teams (2010). Stories of Transformative Learning is his latest book. His latest project is Profound Living with Michael Kroth (www.profoundliving.live), an online site with essays, photos, and poetry dedicated to contemplating what it means to live a profound life.

These poems have been posted on my Profound Living or my Profound Bartender blogs sites but have not been published elsewhere.


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