There were mice, and even Smaller creatures holed up in the rafters. One would raise its thumb, or frown, And suddenly the clouds would part, and the whole Fantastic contraption come tumbling down. And the arcade of forgotten things Closed in the winter, and the roller coaster Stood empty as the visitors sped away Down a highway that passed by an old warehouse Full of boxes of spools and spoons. I wonder if these small mythologies, Whose only excuse for existing is to maintain us In our miniscule way of life, Might possibly be true? And even if they were, Would it be right? Go find the moon And seal it in the envelope of night. The stars are like a distant dust And what the giants left lies hidden in full view. Brush your hair. Wipe the blood from your shoes. Sit back and watch the firedance begin. --So the rain falls in place, The playground by the school is overrun with weeds And we live our stories, filling up our lives With souvenirs of the abandoned Factory we have lingered in too long.
It fills up the space where poems used to be,
Until there’s no space left. It’s incessant
Phone calls, figuring out money and flights to
Somewhere, nowhere, not knowing what comes next:
There’s nowhere to go, which is the problem
(I think everything’s the problem) taking its toll.
Diane looked at me cross-eyed at lunch and I sunk
Into a depression I recalled from forty years ago:
The constant consciousness of helplessness;
The constant feeling of inevitability, of the anger
At that feeling; of the separateness of persons.
Talk is like drugs, repeating what I said each night
In the morning, and on the phone each afternoon:
A different hospital each time, then the same hospital.
A fear of selfishness, an imperative of self-defense:
These are the boundaries of my life now,
The borderlines of my existence for a while.
“In the midst of life we are in death.” Any
Person’s death diminishes me, and yet the fear of
Death is something one can only face alone.
Poetry is stylized indifference, a drawing back
From the divide between my life and its negation—
Not because it’s empty, but because it’s full, too full,
Full of someone else’s. Coming home each day
To the message light blinking on the phone,
My heart sinks as I press the button, and the dial tone
Comes as a relief, since I don’t know what to do.
It’s easier in miniature, within the limits of the page,
The confines of a single consciousness, with the drama
All offstage until the phone rings, and it starts again.