I’d slow down to count
Drips of sigh precipitating ennui,
Typify all the reasons for wishing to leave
In a tidy list ad tedium.
I’d learn to miss the people I saw
The old-jokers, the same-thingers, the daily
I’d try putting less salt in homecooked meals
And then try more salt
Tease the nuances of a species
Before buying the exotic genus
Off a silken menu.
If I actually escaped every time I wanted to,
I’d probably end up realizing I should
They’re all gathered around me. The books with their paper backs and hard covers and commercial ink, lined up together in boldface solidarity. And me with my Hb #2 graphite smears in the newspaper margin, my neighbor a half-assed Sudoku counting its empty boxes. It’s just as nihilistic as I am.
They seethe at me, they hate me, wondering what right I have to sit on this same table. “You’re just scribbles. You’ll never amount to anything.”
And if I had the guts to say what I wanted, I’d tell them that’s how we all start. But I’m gutless and without substance. I am only two brief sentences, not enough to promise and not enough to show.
I am unfinished. I am only a
i guess i always expected more, growing up. which is funny because people always told me and i’ve been convinced, myself, that i was born cynical. but the biggest pessimist is just the biggest optimist disappointed. maybe i never gave it a chance, or not for long enough. maybe the world is still warm and people still love each other and food is still pure and the glaciers are frozen solid and we don’t have to squeeze through the slits of bureaucratic fissures and yeah i can go on, yeah, sure. but the next person will remind me to lower my expectations and grow up. this is life and it’s not as bad as i make it out to be, nothing is as dramatic as it plays out in the mind. and i guess i feel pretty immature, especially when i have to fight that temper-tantrumous impulse to step up really close to them and remind them, in the form of a question, oh don’t they remember none of us get to stay here forever?
Why does she always find herself seated at this desk at midnight after days of happy-go-lucky sunny-side-up easy-spirit carefree caffeinated buoyancy, counting the things that make her smile and staring at two pitiful fists the size of a heart too small for life and love and compassion because when fingers bear the burden of signification hers don’t move, can’t move, too stiff and too tired from clutching on to nothing for so long that the inertia of pettiness is just too much to overcome?
The relationships we have with our furniture - they’re portals of our history. They’re imprinted with the fingerprints of family and friends, some of whom are no longer with us. Our furniture - we remember moving them, hugging them the first day we move them in and hugging them again when we move them out. We wonder about the pieces we’ve given away, or left by the dumpsters, or transformed. Some completely broke down, ghosts of driftwood on the ebb and flow of childhood memories. We also remember furniture of places we’ve frequented: ex-lover’s apartment, grandparents’ attic, our old school or office.
Our furniture - they are witnesses, time stamps; they’ve been babysitters, sleepers, weapons, readers, keepers. They’ve kept the dust from reaching the floor. They’ve hid dead bugs, paper clips, hair, intimates, single socks, business cards. They’ve been tattooed by blood, sweat, tea, wine, burnt by the bottoms of casserole pots, scarred by the claws of pets. They’ve been quiet, loud, squeaky, rocky, heavy, flippant. They’ve been wiped, dusted, blown upon, oiled, sprayed. They’ve lost nuts and bolts and gained inexplicable 1-inch pieces of Scotch tape.
I remember an old couch. Pale cushions as a result of having gone through the washer once too often.