You Were Right
Always, I've been guilty
of reading between the lines
seeing what might or might not be there
sure that everyone else gets it
while I'm left out
in the cold
You said Don't question, just go forward.
And I thought – how can I do that ? The world is
big, hard, frightening. Full of lions, tigers, bears.
My past snaps at my heels. Growls. Salivates.
I've run. Perfect prey. All that has done for me,
is left me in shreds. Tattered clothes
bloodied by my own attempts at escape –
through snarly brambles, over deceitful
logs spanning icy crevasses, dog-paddling
across raging molasses rivers.
I've heard the siren song, promising succor.
Give in to abyssal gravity, float away.
Cotton candy and clouds, whipped
cream and meringue, a cube of aerogel.
More often, I've blended in, invisible,
a walking stick bug. Just part of the tree. Move on.
Nothing to see here. I play dead real well.
But you were right. Though your answer
to my question – me always questioning –
made me angry. That's no answer. I wanted
mockery, sympathy, all those thys I thought
I deserved. Instead, was empathy your answer?
Or am I reading more than is there? I look again
at those words, see how I no longer cower,
even though I am as afraid as I ever was.
Today's poem took a strange route. The picture above is of a cube of aerogel, that I took last summer when we visited the Air & Space Museum in DC. I just thought it was the coolest. But that's not what got this poem started. Instead, I was exercising, working up a sweat on my airwalker to Lady Gaga, and thinking. I'm always thinking. It's a bad habit. And I was thinking about how lately, I seem to be getting over some of my paralyzing fear. Fear of what? Well, of damn near everything. And then I thought of the line that Stephen Elliott wrote when he signed my copy of Happy Baby last year. And I thought "he was right." So, I was off and running. I've noticed that these poem-a-day poems are taking me in some interesting directions. Not sure what it means.