standing naked

Today, I revealed to a traveling acquaintance that I was looking forward to taking a trip to a suburb of Atlanta for a writers’ retreat this summer. She at first didn’t understand so I elaborated about the Writers’ Retreat. Then I went all the way out on the limb and told her that I am a poet and that I attend writing retreats in pursuit of this avocation.

She looked at me as if I were standing in front of her naked…which to a certain extent, I was.

Then she proceeded to stammer and stutter until she mumbled something about having always wanted to write, but never found the time. she quickly changed the subject, right before my eyes and ears, and began to tell me how tired she always was and how her fibromyalgia keep her from doing anything except working and resting.

The sheer insanity of that remark gave me cause to pause.

I felt so sad for her at that moment. And then I felt an overwhelming urge to get away from her. Not that fibromyalgia is contagious, but rather that talk on the subject of failure has the potential to pull me down into the pit of the “what I can’t dos” and I don’t want to go there. That’s a nearly bottomless pit where all the people who make excuses for not pursuing their dreams are cast.

Why waste an otherwise good night’s sleep dreaming of stuff that you don’t intend to pursue? Makes no sense to me.

Meanwhile, back to my commitment to 30 poems in 30 days. Here’s today’s entry:

i have swallowed whole the lives
of those who would have eagerly
given theirs anyway. i have inhaled

and laughed at the outcome of
my breath. i stand tall with
my chest poked out against wind

and rain. i have heaved and
bellowed and laughed again as i
took your loved ones without mercy

or regret/against a purple dawn
i mocked and laughed at your
furtive efforts to scratch and claw

for survival. i feel no anger
or animosity toward humanity–i simply

am what i am

canaries lie all around you amid
the rubble of broken concrete, pipes,
helmets. twenty feet away is a

caplight flickering in its last hope
like a stillborn in the womb.
a fairly new size 11 miner’s

steel toe boot lie on its side
acing you like a signpost
in the distance is the forlorn
sound of tapping like morse code

that you neither care to interpret
or reply to. Holocaust women cry softly
and a thumping sound like a

heartbeat irregular and unpredictable keeps a
nurse up all night leaning over.
nearly 96 hours have passed and

the mountain whispers a prayer to its Creator


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