It is a sign of advancing age
or increasing love and passion
that I no longer imagine
chucking it all and wandering
off of some unplanned journey.
Next flight out please, I
don’t care where it is going,
so long as I have money left
for food and some basic lodging,
no baggage besides my carry on.
Of course today that would
land me in the interrogation
room or whatever TSA
calls it these days, for I must
be a terrorist or crazy person.
So I’ll stay here, visit friends
between visits to doctors,
salve my arthritis, degenerating
spine, failing eyes, and imagine
the places I might have gone.
You learn to shop carefully,
always searching for where
an item is made, avoiding places
you know are not socially responsible.
The search is complicated
by the lack of nearby stores,
by the ubiquity of Amazon,
by the certainty that the product
won’t arrive for some time,
and when you find one
you like, you scroll down
and see the magic buzzword
“Imported” and you know
from experience that
is another way of saying China,
and the search goes on.
You want something. Tell me what it is. Don’t hedge, be open and honest. I may not give it to you. I may not have it to give. I may have it and give it freely. I may have and not want to part with it. I may not have, can get it and give it. Or not. You will not know until you ask for it. I may seek a reason you want it. I may not care. I may seek a reason while not caring. That is my prerogative. I don’t expect you to like that. I may or may not care whether you like it or not. But first you must tell me what it is. I will not guess but I will wait. I am very patient. Or perhaps I am not and you have already missed your opportunity. Life is difficult. You didn’t ask for it to be.
In Yuma, Arizona today, I have no idea what might have happened. Once, without going to a library and rummaging through microfiche in the dust laden corner of the second basement, I would never be able to find out. And if I did, I would wonder why there was not some simpler way of finding out. Now I can search the internet and know what did happen and what some think happened. I can find truth and conspiracies involving Yuma. It will take some time, but it can be done with relative ease. The problem is that I couldn’t care less what happened in Yuma today or most any day.
It is always, the artist told me,
a question of angles and elevations,
but I am sure that was just his perspective.
Dali threw all of that out, made
a pretty good living at taking perspective
out of his work, replaced by fluidity.
For Dali that fluidity resulted
in a fair bit of liquidity, which was
an irony not the least bit lost on him.
But even Dali ran out of time
before he ran out of ideas, it flowed
away from him and he did not care.
I choose to work with words,
for they are easily aligned with
what I imagine, from my perspective.
Growing up my family always had dogs,
only one at a time, of course, since we
were a modern suburban family,
which may be why we had a dog.
It clearly wasn’t because they loved dogs,
they tolerated them on good days,
ignored them the rest of the time
and the good days were few if any.
I never asked for a dog, knew
the daily care would fall to me, for
my sort of brother and sister would
never lift a finger if they didn’t want
and they rarely wanted for other than
themselves, but I didn’t mind, for each
dog became my true family, we all
shared a common blood among us,
which is to say none, and we all said
in our own languages, which we all
understood while no one else did, that
we were orphans who beat the system.
He no longer cared when
it would happen, he knew
it would or would not according
to its own whims and desires
and it would happen when
it chose to do so.
He could not control who
would be there, it might be him
or might not, so if he was, fine,
and if not, so be it.
And he knew not to stand still
assuming it would happen there,
for it was likely to happen there
or somewhere else, a place of its choosing.
It would have its own reasons
and he could ascribe a reason
and it might suit him, but
he knew at a deep level that
he would be engaged in the sort
of self-delusion he so
despised in others.
And when he understood all of this,
he knew exactly what he needed to do
and retired from the news
uncertain who he would be,
where he would go or when,
what he would do and why
anyone would care, and he was happy.