Posts Tagged ‘not really that geeky’

This sense, the opening gate,
a wrought iron groan between manubrium
and xiphoid as I step beneath
the arbor to the path is not exactly loneliness,
though it may be what’s left
once a sieve sifts the sad out from the lonesome.

But still, alone and watching the inchworm earnestly climb its thread
in the space above the trail, freeze when I shift its tether
to rest on the knot of an oak, drop
to leaf litter below, I feel
what I feel walking alone on a beach at sunrise, collecting
shells and thinking of my mother, thinking of dreaming of
walking with her, the light still new and sand dollars washed
in from a storm.
Or what I feel, alone in the last descent
between Asheville and Atlanta, ears still rebounding
from the altitude, heart left behind
on the cobblestones of Wall Street, between
Flat Iron and Laughing Seed.
Or, tucked between nostalgia and regret, the last,
solitary look back at the convention hall,
fantastic microcosm of unmade connections, its ratios always
noticed and never mined, a shared language of shared passions
losing its lexicon as all its speakers scatter,
a world undone until another year.

A sensation to nourish like an egg, this ache,
this afterimage from a flash of joy,
which blinks like the ten o’clock sunlight on the creek,
bobs like the brief flare of two periwinkle blossoms
among the ferns, snares like the vine finding spare
footing in the bark.


Liner note

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There’s not a lot of geek (or nerd) in this poem, but it’s about my fear of flying,which angers me in its irrationality, and which has been filling up my thoughts lately.

Once, my fears wound in
from another era –
childhood terror congealing, in 1979,
about death by tuburculosis, then
by 1982, dying in childbirth.

But in those years, my mind met the sky
in wonder, tracing a phalanx
of light, an arrow loosed toward
the cerulean hubris of a horizon I
could never reach on foot.

This dream recurred: With a button
and a swingset, I could fly.

I did fly, once. A jet. A storm.
Drops that bested the shudder,
plummet, topple of the first hill on a wooden
roller coaster, decrepit, the kind
my mother warned me of at the county fair.

Then, a pilot out of the cockpit. An announcement.
An assurance: The brown fluid, we believe it
to be coolant. No reason we shouldn’t
make it to Atlanta.

The moment I find at “Airplane”: Is
it the fluid? Or “shouldn’t”? Or when, on the ground,
I stood at the payphone, dropping coins,
calling for a man not home to say,
“I need to know if I’m alive.”

Now, at “airplane,” I’m
a splinter falling from the phalanx,
a fletching dwindling, drifting
from the arrow, buoyed
for an instant by a hot
and angry breeze, a
wild susurrus whispering,
“I ought to be above this.”


Liner note

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