Steven Kent


I Tried

I tried to be a guru but the hours were too long
With meditation, prayers, and mindful thinking.
The money and the groupie girls were great, don’t get me wrong,
But then they said I’d have to give up drinking.

I tried to be an idler but the labor was too much;
Each day the odds of my success diminished.
With this and that and how and why and when and where and such,
I never really knew when I was finished.

I tried to be a thinker, next a painter, then a bard
(My lack of any talent notwithstanding).
It wasn’t that the work, per se, was really all that hard,
But self-promotion proved much too demanding.

I tried to be a dreamer but the dream just wouldn’t call;
I never found that land of milk and honey.
Imagine no possessions, it’s not hard to do at all
Said someone with a pocketful of money.

I tried to be a critic, with an arbitrary pen
Dispensing deadly darts of fiery censure,
But being judge and jury left me jaded in the end
And robbed me of the taste for that adventure.

I tried to be myself at last; so far it’s going well.
I play the role with pride yet self-effacement.
I hope the show goes on for years, though you can never tell—
Tomorrow they might send in my replacement.

Steven Kent is the poetic alter ego of writer, musician, and Oxford comma enthusiast Kent Burnside ( His work appears in Light, Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, New Verse News, OEDILF, and Philosophy Now.