Daily Archives: March 26, 2010

Certainties

…yeah, I don’t know…

this isn’t working for me anymore…

the breathing, it ain’t
what it used to be; the eyes
dry out, except on the frequent occasions
when they leak,
and they do leak often…

often enough that I call myself
“sentimental” now, a word
I never considered before…

and the knees buckling, the wrists aching,
the ears full of inconvenient
electricity crackling over
the background of each conversation…

I can’t remember the last time
any particular event happened
although the first time
it happened is crystal clear
and I talk about it
all the time…

I expect this will be the way
it will be, though I live for it all being
temporary…I don’t know…

already a ghost…everything is best described
with an ellipsis, because nothing
stays solid…

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What We Take

We take our coffee without cream.

We take our meals when the whistle lets us,
one half hour at a time.
Ham on rye’s as fancy as we get,
some yellow mustard on the bread,
maybe cheese, maybe lettuce if we’ve got time,
chips and pickle on the side.

We take it on faith
that we might lose these jobs.
So we take our money home
and keep it close enough to hear it squeak.

We take our clothing simple and plain
and cheap as we can find. Once in a while
we’ll take on something
with a touch more style
as long as it toes a certain line.

We take our evenings as they come.
We take our friends as warty and hard
as we are.   We talk the way we learned to talk
at the knees of those like us,
and if we do change the conversation
it’s only a little at a time
unless we’re shoved along a path
we didn’t plan to take,
and then we do what we can
to hold on to what we used to say,
adding new words only where they fit.

We take the evening news with a heap of salt.
Even when it makes some kind of sense
we don’t pay much attention
unless we recognize a name or a face.
We work too hard to care too much
which suits are running the game
we know we’re going to lose.

We take our champions as they are
and our warriors as we find them.
We take them to heart if they sound like us
because that’s how we know they’re real.
We take on the battles they want to fight
because that’s how we learn to hope.

We take out the garbage first thing in the morning
to keep it safe from the raccoons and skunks
and the neighbor’s dog that rips the bags for snacks.
We swear we’ll mess that dog up one of these days
for messing us up and making it hard
to keep order on the streets where we live. 
We take a moment to look one way,
then the other, before crossing the street
and climbing into our cars
in our same old solid clothes,
clutching steaming travel cups
and the brown bags
that hold the same kind of sandwiches
they held yesterday
and the day before.

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By Computer

No shirt, no shoes,
a little chilled in my own living room.

I could get up and put on a shirt
but then I’d have to move.

Could make coffee —
see above.

Paying bills by computer,
sending invoices by computer,

making poems by computer,
communicating with you all by computer.

None of this
seems lazy to me.

It’s the way the morning goes
most days.  Eventually, I’ll move

and re-enter physical space —
a lie, I’m there now, of course,

sensing my empty stomach,
scratching the occasional itch.

How perfect are the ways of the brain
and mind that it requires so little sweat

to leap mountains and deserts
in order to survive, and that all it takes

is to move a few fingers at a time
for my friends to know I exist,

what I’m thinking, how Godlike
I am though I am fat and dirty

and hungry this morning,
and a little cold, as well.

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