Trying to decide
what to do with my old broom
because I haven’t had the money
to buy a new broom yet
and I’ve been exhorted
to sweep clean. Should I
toss it out and let the house
go to seed with dust and grime
until I get the new one
or keep using the old one
knowing I’m out of compliance
and could be seen as a reactionary?
Cup of tea,
I ask myself? Certainly,
I reply. Don’t feel like making coffee,
but I need the boost. And though
I’m alone here, no reason not
to think of this as a party.
People like me are doing the same
across the country. Except
maybe they aren’t like me,
maybe they don’t really like tea
and are drinking it only because
there’s nothing else? Because
it beats mumbling to yourself?
This slow laptop full of spyware
and shitty ads and dead files?
It wasn’t always like this. It used
to sing and scream. That it picked up
so much debris along the way
has to be someone else’s fault:
I can’t be expected to think about this stuff
every time I download a movie
or open my mail, or to upgrade
my protection regularly
and be perpetually vigilant. That’s not my job —
it’s just supposed to work for me.
“No, I’m an American,”
I tell the attendant at the gas station
who asks if I’m French
after I thank him, on a whim, in Italian.
He regards me with suspicion.
That’s the problem with this country:
none of us know enough languages
to be able to identify
genuine expressions of gratitude.
I don’t recognize the blond woman
on the front page of the paper
whose bruised shin may keep her
from five gold medals in Vancouver,
just as a few weeks ago
I didn’t recognize
any of the brown people
pictured standing around homeless
in Port-Au-Prince after that earthquake.
But I do feel
a similar sense of loss,
so I’m good.