Greek phrenitikós, frantic
Silence isn’t stillness, agitation has me in its grip remember reading Greeks were like us restless underneath and again underneath water wearing away crevices the itch of canyons skin I didn’t outgrow as the doctor promised burns hot and stinging allergic to what I bring to it allergic to what I’m thinking how much older the underpass is filled to overflowing blue-tented absence corners with the leftover plastic and cardboard happens so fast it isn’t even my heart that’s broken, time stealing & leaking the blue cold what it would have been to be Greek no cortisone a body historians also thought women leaky restless for what out of one’s own skin a future they never knew who’d have thought a daily underpass so many leftovers pizza fries near the parking what skin did we come wrapped in
Copyright © 2018 by Martha Ronk. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 26, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
“Lately I have been unable to separate private from public agitation—my own agitation and erupting allergies from the distress around me, increasing homelessness, tents under freeways. I obsess over broken systems, cities, bodies, poetic forms. All of us wrapped in similar skin. Years ago, I read a comparison between early Greek restlessness and American restlessness and began thinking about the ways such restlessness is spread across cultures and historical eras, as well as across our current landscape and individual bodies.”