I don’t know how to behave but
I know what I believe. I believe
that if I stick my head in the oven
I won’t take it out. I believe in
corduroy couch cushions. I believe
in digging a tunnel with a small
silver spoon. I believe in tunneling
with this spoon under the city
and never giving up.
I believe in after-breakfast naps
and Russian roulette—
Russian roulette while eating ice cream
as I watch the evening news.
I believe in the evening news.
And I believe in celebrity.

I believe in those photos
on the web of Putin playing doubles
Ping-Pong, outdoors, in his Speedo.
(Find those.) I believe in haircuts
and bubble gum, and putting my face
down into a pillow or cushion,
and that when I do this I will see
the future, plus other cultures, most
of them, and I’ll get work done
that couldn’t be done another way.

I believe in tacos and mortification.
I believe that all people fall
into one of two categories: Doonesbury or Far Side.
Well, or Andy Capp. Andy Capp type people.
They’re everywhere.


MICHAEL EARL CRAIG is from Dayton, Ohio, home of the gas mask and the mood ring. He is the author of Woods and Clouds Interchangeable (Wave Books, 2019), Talkativeness (Wave Books, 2014), Thin Kimono (Wave Books, 2010), Yes, Master (Fence Books, 2006), Can You Relax in My House, (Fence Books, 2002), and the chapbook Jombang Jet (Factory Hollow Press, 2012). He lives in the Shields Valley, near Livingston, Montana, where he runs a full-time farrier practice. He was the 2015-2017 Poet Laureate of Montana.

8 responses to “This I Believe”

  1. Judy Prince says:

    What a kick, Michael! I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of your quirk-start poem.

    Welcome to TNB from one who’s slightly preferential towards Far Side—–ok, I totally love Gary Larson’s stuff—–especially the cows pole-dancing!

  2. Mark Sutz says:

    I don’t know how to behave but
    I know what I believe.

    Wow, how true.

  3. Lorna says:

    I believe I fall into the Far Side catagory. Which is probably why this all makes perfect sense to me. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Becky Palapala says:

    I’ve known a few farriers in my day and a few poets, but I am all but 100% certain that you are the first farrier-poet I have ever seen.

    Not counting the farriers who wax philosophical after a 6-pack. Those are a dime a dozen.

  5. Gloria says:

    Far Side all the way. Doonesberry isn’t absurd, so I find it disappointing.

    I’ve always wondered if I could leave my head in the oven. Or stay in the running car. I don’t think I could.

  6. I so love this poem, Michael. It just makes me smile every time I read it. So glad we could feature you here on TNB.

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