Worn thin, I remove my glasses,
and the myopic world readjusts.
Clarity’s a matter of degree:
step to the right,
step to the left—
Hokey Pokey, Hokey Pokey.
She sat behind you, one row over.
(You were soul mates! Truly.)
She knew, but was afraid of love.
You, you never knew. Hokey, Pokey.
There is no sadness here,
not even a cynical joke.
Must everything be ironic?
Yesterday, I tried to write a poem
about thinking and dreams—
hokey pokey, pokey hokey.
All very philosophical, yet vague,
like art, and life, and laughter.
As once, when late at a party, the person you came with had left without you knowing. You were exhausted from too many small conversations, too many convivial shots of bourbon, and a woman you don’t know who was sitting close to you on the couch said something deeply profound, but your cynicism missed it. Until much later, after she left, and you were still sitting there alone. Step to the left, step to the right.
You read a poem again, years later after never really understanding it the first time, although you always pretend that you did. You read it again, perhaps repeatedly. You see a bit of light in a line, a phrase, a word, some fissure, and you enter. The walls tight against your shoulders, the dark pulling you forward in slow pulsing throbs of fear toward the light, until you cry gasping for air. With the beauty of your comfort ripped asunder, traces of blood slip across your face.
(July 19, 2016)