Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Eyes down


Who knew I could be so easily changed?

Not me, looking to the beeping man

who asks how many cigarettes do I have

and if I’m a woman, really, he asks that

and the caesura of my surprise

must confirm for him the obscurity

of his suspicions. Because he’s walking

away, beeping again, like a bird

or a car unlocking for you in this heat,

in your approach. I don’t drive,

I can’t drive, and it’s now I begin dreaming

where I’d go if I did. Know

that my direction would be

wherever you are. I don’t even know.

Last night I watched the rain

while pretending to watch

a war movie with men trudging hip-deep

through snow. Specks of dust

and water frozen in their fall

towards earth, towards this place

I like to call here, I like to call February

even though it's August. No one I know pretends

likewise. One more reason

to feel a slight sadness,

one more reason to send you an email

that lies about the beauty

of Bavaria. About snow’s massive serenity—

the way it accrues in silence,

the way I pretend to keep track

of each flake like a concerned parent.

Which I’m not but a vial

of heartsickness I’m closer

to being. Each day I’m asked

what I’d like to eat

and never do I know.

It’s an algebra I’ve no gift for, no gift at all.

I love the clouds for the courage

I assign them, as they empty,

as they eddy in endless jags overhead.

Maybe it’s a way to make peace

with my own foolishness

that’s currently jetting through Europe.

It never writes but I receive

its bills. It hates the cold and so do I.

Why I bother with February,

the real one in which

I ache like everyone else,

I’ll never know. In the emptied-out dawn

when the birds begin

to enunciate their insane haiku,

know that I’m awake, watching the sun turn to snow.


lu said...

incredible! you pulled a physical reaction out of me; my stomach sinking, chest tightening, warmth up my spine.

Melissa said...

how absolutely lovely. enthralled the whole way through.

Paul said...

Thank you both...

elizabeth said...

I loved this. Thanks so much for sharing. I especially found the following lines especially beautiful:
About snow’s massive serenity—/the way it accrues in silence,/the way I pretend to keep track of each flake like a concerned/parent.