Life Preserver [Today's News Poem, March 31, 2011]
Nothing is certain.
What will save us?
Do not say it's love, for you can't eat love.
Do not say it's food, for you can't love food.
Superlatives skew our desires,
Sense of self; flatten the surfaces.
If everything's loved then nothing is loved.
I'll give you examples:
I was tremendously fat as a child.
My teacher had nightmares I'd burst in the classroom
And shatter her leg and she'd die in our papers.
We paid her no mind in her dream.
She was helpless, alone with us savages
And died from her blood-clot.
It wasn't me I said.
I'd never leave her there to die
And she laughed when I said this;
But why would I do that?
I loved her. She taught me to count on my words
And conjugate numbers—I'd never allow her to die
Somewhere awful like school.
I'd apologize softly. A chant of "I'm sorry, I'm sorry,"
While dialing emergency services.
And I wondered, "is she right? Is this me?"
I could fit a whole flock in my stomach,
And plantations of sugar—and how many gallons of milk
Did I churn into tallow?
So I lost all that weight,
Stopped the sugar and bicycled.
Weaved through the buses on Haight Street, on Market.
And every collision was miracle,
I tore off my knees and my elbows and laughed in the blood.
And I laughed with the love of my life
In the rain—nearly midnight on Sixth street.
The boarded up windows, the shopping cart specters
And needles for blades of grass, sodded on sidewalk.
We passed it, en route to our shower, bed above closet;
A cage for us lovebirds—
We had no idea.
"For a quarter marked by successive bouts of panic — over Mideast oil supplies, Japanese radiation leaks and European debt crises — safe-haven investments turned out to a pretty uneven showing."
—Marketwatch, March 31, 2011, 3:47 PM ET
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