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?