Saturday, June 4, 2011
"This One's From The Hip"
Usually I come back from my special camping trip with short, simple, amusing poems. And lots of em. This time, I get long, drama-laden, prosy stuff. And thank the gods there are not lots of em.
The Great Celebration
When the world failed to end
On the day the preacher said it would,
The day went down in the books
As "The Great Disappointment."
Here's my proof, as if more were needed,
Of how much we humans fear being alive.
Better the devil we know, we say,
Than the angel we may never meet.
Living means not knowing
The appointed hour, and so much can happen
To hurt a soul in an hour.
How often, maddened in love, have I said:
I could die now.
Beneath that pure lotus of acceptance
Spreads a swampland where an
Alligator swims. I'll name him "Wish."
Take me home now, before the party dissolves
Into cigarette butts and muddy footprints.
A year and three nights
Of drums and frogs and
Our sweat fusing our skin.
It's summertime, and the living is easier
When you don't always get what you want.
You can be certain of me now:
As certain as you were that you would die young,
As certain as you were that you would always be alone,
As certain as you were that the world would end.
For Those Who Won't Take Their Medicine
What I wouldn't give
To give that man a handful
Of something--god knows what
He could use. I'd find something.
I'd take what he gives me, and then--
The direct route. A bungee jump, they tell me,
Into the abyss and out again.
A lifetime of digging done
In a puff of smoke. Take this,
And you will push through
Fifty years of pain,
Just like that.
But the man with the medicine
Won't look my way. And that's okay.
Because it's my way, the hard way.
At the end of the day, my legs trembling,
I sit at the table and struggle to scoop
A small mound of rice with my broken hands.
Damage strengthens muscles.
I train my hands so they will be strong enough
To dig myself out of my grave.
The world conspires against
My ease. I won't be allowed
Pillows and stroking and tea and friends.
These are things others are offered freely
But I can't even bargain for.
The arm, extended in welcome or comfort,
Will not find my shoulder.
If I crumble, not one of you
Will pick up a single piece.
I've always known this in my bones.
My only medicine is the breath of the trees,
Harvested by my own hours spent running, running.
Each journey I make alone.
Each day, I will have to sweat,
And plant seeds, and wait for them
To sprout. Many of them die.