why not

We’re not going anywhere exotic

we’re staying put.

I keep making sincere and ludicrous pacts with myself

eat more fruits and vegetables

exercise more, forget more

forget to look in the mirror and forget to watch the news.

I’ve made a pact with myself to live in this house forever

and I’m staying in the suburbs, I’m staying put.


Last week we bought a cement statue

of an unknown Roman lady looking over her right shoulder

and we struggled her up into the niche made for a television.

We’re weighing down the place two hundred pounds at a time.

The news around here is ancient, heavy.


Since she arrived I’ve been taking my glass of wine

at the kitchen table as I’ve always done

that one glass of heaven before dinner


Now, after one of those long and beautiful days

the beauty mostly lost in the bustle and fatigue

when I ask, why do I ever complain?

I receive a sidelong glance

at my brief drunkenness

the flowers on the table

at the verdigris of this wild bliss

this small, rough, inelegant life.


Doesn’t every moment contain a secret truth?

If only it could be taken inward

and that one could follow spiralling into the fire of oneself.


This morning alone I sat outside

in the new green of spring

remembering every other spring I greeted with disbelief.

All winter I dreamed of Hawaii

who can blame me?

but if I made it there I wouldn’t believe it either.

Maybe I’d spend all my time climbing to the mouths of volcanoes

so I could express my incredulity to the utmost.


I have a terrible memory but sometimes a line will get into my thoughts

and repeat over and over.

Today the words from the desert fathers,

why not be totally changed into fire?

I’m not going anywhere.

I’ve made a pact with a sidelong glance, with disbelief

I’ve made a pact with the question.

Why not be?