We don’t give ourselves enough credit.
Just to awaken and climb upward, a task itself
To move the limbs, weighty and awkward
Cold and silted, stomach crying
To go throughout the day comme ça
Switches flipping on / off–do this! do that!
Consume capsules and latch onto
stainless steel scissors for nagging nails
organic moisture-retaining lotion
vitamin-rich omelette with nougat for dessert
Now thirsty and still weary
Espresso to go, please, make it quick,
my knees are bound to crack, and legs
restless with the Get-There itch
Eyedrops, fortifying, but lenses dirty
So’s the rag
Let me dig in my bag. Ah yes, right here,
my afternoon kit in all its maintenance glory
Stringing along between molar and migraine
Halitosis is no friend and Scope knows this
$2.99 travel size
next to packaged tobacco
Remain calm and reach for flask if all else fails
Lips: “Feed me chapstick and we shall speak with luster”
But Hair: “Left stranded”
Where’s that flask anyway?
Forget it, says Bladder, you have to pee,
you have to pee, you have to pee, you have to pee
By nightfall, acquainted growl
Ready to polish another plate
as the first and second have abandoned me
And all along, Brain, furious,
“What did you accomplish today?”
And the Soul! “When did you rest?”
But–I protest–“I had these nails, and hair, and skin, and–
Yes. I’ll promptly begin to sit and work,
then both will be happy, I assume
’Cause now it’s all shutting down
and even that damn Restless Leg
Smell the incense
see the flicker
mind the bed
“It’s okay, today was a sick day, you’re allowed a Free Pass.
Tomorrow we’ll work instead.”
Some nights (and days for that matter),
I feel that I’m on the verge of insanity.
Whether it is a pleasant form of insanity
or one that knocks me from the surface
I’m not sure
I’m uncertain; but what’s new, Sue?
I survey empty spaces
Light the last of wicks
Drink bottles with no liquid
Smile the smile that no one sees
I remember things that I’ve never remembered until now
The horse running alongside my truck
That waitress or that schoolteacher
I see the stars– same as they’ve always been
’s’all so clear in these moments
And yet I’m on the verge
The verge, then, is to be questioned
Where does it lead, where does it go?
Would I return? Would I care?
And would I know
O would I know
If I were already there?
I won’t lie.
I still find myself in the padded seat of a parked car on beautiful nights like this. Squat in a random lot, with random crickets and indigestion. The trees stand like blank totems and watch me with answers buried in bark. Shadows play on the ground and the radio display dances mute and maniacal. My heart beats fast for nothing and everything, and I think of nothing and everything. In the distance, howling traffic reminds me that things are still happening and that they will always happen. They’ll happen with or without roads, gasoline, corner store buzz and jingle.
Meanwhile the porch lamps burn electric, and I know there are people behind locked doors, between sheets and dreams, and nearly everyone I’ve met is tucked in somewhere, or wandering about, perhaps getting a glass of midnight milk or morning OJ. Or maybe they’re across the plains wide awake in the parking lot of life. In times of uncertainty– that is to say all times– I ache for humanity and every last creature of the night.
Steel wheel, what do you say?
Old shed, give me a clue.
Crowded drain, how ’bout you?
You damn crickets. You remind me that the night is alive, just like all the bars and pubs and people standing outside with faces and words. Well. That’s fine. I can appreciate alive on both sides.
No, I won’t lie.
I still find myself sitting in parking lots, and I still miss the world.