Present Tense (I Am Not Resigned)

A clock ticking, the curtains closed, sleepers all around. Soft their breath, their whimpers, and their turns. I avoid the loose board in the hall. It creaks anyway and smiles. Faded paint and spider webs, fingerprints, dust, and bits of thread. Pictures on the walls, old calendars and new, paintings, drawings, photographs. Many gifts � ashtrays, vases, bowls, and cups. A jar full of pennies. Silent cupboards. Worn out shoes. In the corner, an idle broom.

I am not resigned. Each day, the streets, the streets.
Voices, hands, and lips and eyes, the sound of restless feet.
The world went mad long ago, but I am not resigned.

From the sidewalk I turn the knob, push open the door. There is plywood on the floor. This is an old house, full of books. They greet me with their musty smell. There are books in the sink, books on the counter, books on the window sill.

An inquiring face awaits, a sensible Yes? attached to hands.

No I yes I do you have, yes I no I believe we do, and we tiptoe through the eerie rooms, trying not to disturb our shipmates holding onto the groaning shelves for dear
life � so dear we are near everything we fear, ah, yes, here is the answer, under Z.
It never occurred to me.

Do you have trade credit with us? No. Every book I buy, I keep. Two quarters change? How much did I give you? Four. How strange. I thought I gave you three. I was about to give you two quarters. See? And she looked at me. Would you like me to change this for quarters?

Incongruity. A puzzled smile. For some reason, I think of pineapples.

A sip of coffee. . . . Yes. Still warm. I had forgotten it is here, just fourteen inches from my hand. How many minutes? Long enough for a ring to form near the rim, and for a tiny vessel to sink with Captain Bubble shouting in despair. Poor fellow. To the murky bottom known as Dregs. And yet, see how the surface shines. Hear the voices calling from the shore. Give us a hand with those barrels, boy. What are you waiting for?

For the moment, and nothing more. To be, to be.

February 22, 2006

Previous Entry     Next Entry     Return to Songs and Letters     About the Author

Many of the poems on this site are available in print editions.
Main Page
Author�s Note
A Listening Thing
Among the Living
No Time to Cut My Hair
One Hand Clapping
Songs and Letters
Collected Poems
Early Short Stories
Armenian Translations
Cosmopsis Print Editions
News and Reviews
Highly Recommended
Let�s Eat
Favorite Books & Authors
Useless Information
E-mail & Parting Thoughts

Flippantly Answered Questions

Top of Page