Rehearsing

In the car, driving
between errands, I practice
talking to the air. I pretend
the stop light is a sentinel
requiring a password.
It changes frequently, sometimes
from block to block in the same
day. It does not care
whether I cleaned the toilet
or if, at my age, I have read
all of Swann’s Way
or Ulysses or the great
classics of western philosophy.
It does not want to know
if I went to church on Sunday;
or if I handed fruit or a dollar bill
to the man holding up a Please help,
anything will do
sign
at the intersection of City Hall
and Granby. It does not say
whether what I throw with my voice
is caught in a basket on the other end;
who I’m speaking with, or whether
I am a fool driving around in circles,
driving across the bridge,
driving farther into the country
where every hour is a gradual
purpling that shades into winter.
Should I worry about the messes
left behind, about who will pick up
after? I peer through the dusty,
bird-poop spattered windshield.
Should I write down instructions
in a notebook, should I leave
these somewhere they will be
impossible to miss? In the old
stories, the gods or saints decide
one day to go on a meander that lasts
decades. They never ask anyone’s
permission, they never think
of details like rent or taxes
or child support. They come back
when they’re finally tired
or bored or have run out
of places to conquer.
Unlike them, I’m no one
important: so I practice talking
my way through passage,
every opportunity I can.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Homeless.

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