I like to walk a visit to a place,
acquaint my feet and legs with its terrain,
inhale its air, examine every face,
and feel its ambience itself explain.
I don’t care overmuch about the food
and I don’t want to join a guided tour,
but let me through my legs absorb the mood –
impress me through my soles as I explore –
and I will sense the spirit of the site,
investigate a bit of mystery,
ingest the humors of its day, its night,
perceive the pulsing of its history.
I’ll take away pedestrian success,
perambulating into happiness.
I pinched myself nine times a day, and yet
I really couldn’t wake. The sun, the car,
the banal talk seduced me to forget
my time. Three days I went to nothing far –
a jaunt away from concrete, noise or hill –
and trying to attend I nodded off
(I guess I should admit I took a pill
and smoked expensive herb that made me cough).
But chief among the reasons for my mood?
the sleepy sea coast planned community;
the book reviews; the fussing attitudes
of middle-class white women. There were three
of us, but I like Gulliver deny
affinity with folk less cool than I.
Impatient was the word I used to use
to indicate my eagerness, the rush
to put ideas in play. You must excuse
my ignorance (I know enough to blush
for it). I cannot be a patient one;
I won’t sustain in silence injury.
I’m antsy for the game to start: I run
in place; I sitting fidget; manic me.
As flighty as a butterfly, I’ll sip
a thousand flowers. Long as I’m alive
I’ll fickle flit, I’ll dart and soar and dip,
and then I’ll climb as high again to dive,
investigating every shape I find,
and leaving little passages behind.
I see myself eccentric and I hear myself unsung.
I feel myself untouched by any man.
I taste the flavor middle age with tongue no longer young.
I speak to me as often as I can.
If I had no more senses than the five described above,
they’d mimic vision like a silhouette.
But I’m as much defined by humor, metaphysics, love,
as sensory coordinates can set.
A sphere through two dimensions is a circle changing size
and I through five am just as hard to know,
so don’t graph me with sense unless you’d comprehend disguise.
A look askance, a broader glance, will show
completer truth than any frontal spin:
The moth is always bigger than the pin.
In 15 minute increments I chart
my life of late – the pattern is a chain
of dashing lines. For every job gets part
of me, with darts that sculpt my aging brain,
and I’m at run unbalanced on a beam
of task and trouble, managing on nerve
alone at times, deferring every dream –
the polygon begins to show a curve.
I’m dot-to-dot and listing while the world
around me seems to limp in lethargy.
Aware how squared my future is, I’m hurled
into diurnal energy. I see
relentless days elapse. I’m trying not
to waste them, but in haste I near forgot.
I’m hypercritical of her or him.
I pick apart the problem slowing you.
Distinguishing the foliage from limb
is play for me: I penetrate. It’s true
my skill identifying right from wrong
impresses even I who know it best.
I look at you and see why you’re not strong.
I listen, so my wisdom isn’t guessed.
But on occasion I can recognize
that I must aim analysis at me.
Refocusing to cast myopic eyes
at details personal, I start to see
within myself, less pretty than I please,
the contours of my own deficiencies.
I used to fear I’d waste myself: I’d dream
recurrently about an unused room.
Reminded nightly to it, I’d redeem
it from the day’s oblivion, resume
a planned inhabitance, investigate
its windowless perimeter, and then:
I’d wake to tasks already running late,
time-harried to forgetfulness again.
I used to think my solitude a waste
of personality. I thought I must
bestow myself on someone else. I chased
a wraith of Iris to a pot of rust,
and found beside that rainbow room for me
to like my own peculiarity.