Day 137 – Silence

there is a cosmos in our silence;

to sit quiet with you is better
than speaking for hours
with anyone else

the world, pressing for content,
turning thought to data to excess,
a machine of produced community,
forgets to earn,
forgets how to guess

and we, in silence, auction off our places in the race,
buy back our costly solitude
to break in half and share

we are worth more than
what comes out of our mouths

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Day 117 – I’m Taking A Class

I’m taking a class
on writing;
about teaching children
to write well

The professor wants us
to get a little journal
and carry it around
to write little thoughts in

She says I have to be a writer myself
to show a child how to be one
so we’ll practice
and she’ll check it every week
to make sure I’m doing it

I just sit so quietly
during these times

I can’t get angry
like the first four classes-
I know now this is not
really meant for me

but oh the things
I sit so quietly through
because it’s just
what has to be done

Oh the well-meaning requirements
from all the bad apples
that spoiled the bunch

Day 84 – Where the Cattails Grow

Where will you be tomorrow
if the feeling finds you out,
discovers you’ve been on the run
for too long?

Will you be running back
to where the cattails grow,
to the falling snow,
to your quietest moments
wrapped up and
thrown into the sea?

Will you give my best
when you get there,
to the places I can’t go;

will you be there tomorrow
where the cattails grow?

Day 75 – Fondest Holiday Wish

Evidently
it is inappropriate
to discuss my
existential ennui
at the dinner table;
the sweet release
of death
is especially forbidden
at Thanksgiving.

It seems my
daily experiences
and in fact,
my fondest holiday wish,
are best served
smothered
in gravy,
barely there,
and if there
very quietly.

Day 53 – Goblins and Ghouls

Goblins and ghouls
can only scare fools
a piercing shriek
only freaks the weak
a noose of rope
unnerves a dope
but none of that scares me

a stew of spiders and lizard tail
can easily derail the frail
the executioner’s sudden jolt
can terrify a silly dolt
a grim and gruesome work of art
can spook even the brave of heart
but none of that scares me

for nothing fills me more with dread
than the little voices in my head,
the horrors that torment my soul
so quietly beyond my control,
the constant doubt and agony
the shattering of my sanity

oh nothing out there scares me more
than me

Dearest

I have been to the beach again, I’m afraid.
I have been to the beach again.
I have been to the nude beach with strangers again
and I haven’t told you until now.

Nor did I tell about the party last week,
you were invited but I didn’t tell.
They asked where you were and I told them that you
were having surgery on your heart.

I’ve been speaking to my exes, too, I’m afraid,
about books that you haven’t read.
I’ve been waking up early and taking the train
to cities that you’ve never been.

I’ve been sitting on park benches thinking of ways
to tell you how I will not change,
all the maddening kicks of resistance to combat
all the ways I feel myself change.

I have never felt guilty, never owed anyone
an explanation, never gave myself up,
never felt such a pull to keep my beaches and trains
as though they were slipping away.

Dearest, I have been to the beach again,
and I haven’t told you until now.
I’ve been keeping my secrets and my safety,
but Dearest, I have told you now.

Year 2: Day 101 – Life In The Grandfather Chair

It happened slowly,
what all of us evidently now accept-
that I wouldn’t have to lift a finger around here
anymore.

All I did was sit;
I picked the red velour Grandfather Chair
that sits in the middle of the empty stage
and took out a book to read,
but I’ve done it often.

And they come,
they come as if summoned, as if
keeping an appointment, as if drawn,
four or five at a time who couldn’t stand to leave
without greeting.

And they leave
as soon as the conversation dies,
they let me go back to my book in peace,
they know what the quiet means to me,
and what my time has meant for them.

All I’ve done
was speak softly,
have a demeanor of calm, stay out
of the idle talk and resist the temptation
for theatrics.

In short,
I have assumed the characteristics
of a person who’d belong in the Grandfather Chair,
and it seems the rewards of that life
have come to me.