Thoreau

Now there’s a perambulator.  Sometimes I think:

“the loneliness man in the world, while simultaneously being

the best cover-upper of the loneliest loneliness in the world,”

this being like some humongous blue crater

sitting at the entrance of Thoreau’s being,

which we pay a ticket for, like

in a movie theater, as soon as we open

his journals.  Hand in your ticket, turn the page

and find yourself suddenly

isolated, snow coming down onto the brown

of the branches, snow everywhere,

Thoreau recording it, actually hearing the noise

of that snow as it falls

and lands on each branch,

every single one.

 

The quiet sublime: it’s an illusion, really,

and a reality, if only because

we can find it in poems – Elizabeth Bishop, say,

walking along the beach in the March cold,

the sun, shining like some enormous lion in the sky;

or James Schuyler describing snow falling,

the view out his window.  How many times in life

do we pause, not because we forget something,

like our keys in the bathroom

or our change for the laundry machine in our other pair of pants,

but because we are suddenly in awe

that we are alive, that we are able to talk and think

and walk and feel,

if only for a short while,

that we are us, essentially, that

we have this temporary lease

on a totally idiosyncratic life? 

So we pause in the middle of traffic

and get honked at and nearly die,  it’s cool,

we have a nectarine for lunch,

and the day is stretching endlessly

to the horizon, which is us,

and what is us is always-permeable. 

 

Emerson knew this, he said something

along the lines of everything

in this world being

metaphor for a person – how our minds

are ready (always) to convert or internalize

a metaphor.  In that sense – viewing my desk –

we are

postage stamps (marks of arrival and departure),

envelopes (containers of messages),

books (etc.), pens (etc.), medication (ready to be helpful, hopefully),

printers (machines that spit out information), cd’s (machines that play music),

bills (waiting to be paid),

and my cat,

Crush (too many reasons to name).

Meanwhile the world goes on all around me

like a circus performance,

and occasionally I find

I’m part of it, too, suddenly

walking on stilts in the rainy light

of a March evening,

imagining something I can’t see,

writing some poem, doing everything I can

to avoid falling into the humongous pothole of misfortune

and maintain my precarious equilibrium

like a flying bird.

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