Self-Portrait with Soft Ropes and Escape

I'm a poor imitation of a parrot as boss or calendar planner.

I do better as a minor-minor Houdini
untangling a bowl of pasta ropes with my tongue.

Even better as a lint roller who insists
there can be a little more life after one square.

At meetings I've learned to copy the language of banned
synthetics: transparency, opacity, longevity.

Does knowing a thing can never be destroyed make it happy?

Growing up in a family of breakfast table
I'm still trying to learn the pose "Serene
Buddha of Glacial Composure."

My friends want to sign me up for workshops on Yes You
Can Really Not Give a Fuck.

Several times a day I am torn between misery and elation,
disappointment and hope—

Just pick one, any one, they say with impatience.

But when I finally make my candy selection, most likely
I wind up with the chocolate covered maraschino.
It's the one with the goopy center
that tastes like cough medicine.

Those who don't really know me
sometimes gush: You have such a charmed life.

When I close my eyes I want to see
a line of water buffaloes in tutus,
kicking up their heels
a la Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.

The ensemble has yet to stage "Carmen;"
but when they do I want it to be only that part
where she sings her beguiling seguidilla and convinces
the officer of the guard to untie her bonds.

I want to be that one scene only: the gypsy
woman in red, her laughter the sound
made by clear glass
marbles rolling away, little wicks
of trapped color pulsing like flames.

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