In honor of saying what longs to be said.




Four Poems for Salem Weekly

by Michael Smith



Later On

what there is emerges when summoned

echoes of forgotten yesterdays as real as

what you wanted or thought you wanted

still not knowing observing what comes


and then that too is gone or transformed

into what you have to deal with later on

still resonating in its cave of time what

came before what formed unfolding now



When You Can

by the time you know enough

it will be too late to do anything

you must act in spite of darkness

like a blind person in a spotlight

perfect understanding never comes

the right moment is when you can

do something then something else

then you will have done enough



Mere Acting

this is mere acting you are

not entirely here where then


bemusedly being yourself

going through the motions


come back to me now this

instant needs you present


or is it myself acting myself

as from earlier learned sides


this after that because scripted

requires my attention as well


then may the passion emerge

and the life of the music flow



Whole Story

what of what I tell you or myself is true

and not a story I made up and tell again

what I thought was happening was only

part of the story God might tell if he was

telling not the whole story either many

ways of looking at the same thing which

is never simple no one thing acting alone


if I were smarter and knew more it might

help keep things in perspective probably

not no one likes dying and dies on time

get used to it only goes so far then what

smart people lose grip and favorite gems

lose their meaning and sense of feeling

true as they may have been in their prime



Michael Smith lives in Silverton, where he publishes books under the imprint Fast Books. His latest is “Theatre Journal,” a selection of his theatre criticism from The Village Voice, 1960-74. He has written and directed many plays and posts a poem every day on his blog at

Salem Writes seeks to reflect the creative writing spirit in the greater Salem area. Contact Ruth Hudgens at