Wednesday, March 2, 2011

282. Poem in Place of a Thought

When you saw
When you came to understand
When you came to understand
When you realized words could hold two meanings in place
When you
When, after giving a selection of words away, you learned that
When it was that you
When you, who it was known was
When you saw the way
When you saw the way out
When you concluded that it could never
When you concluded that it would always
When there was a slight pause before you said
When you were given to believe
When you were given away
When you were given to fits
When you were given and forgiven
Whenever it was, maybe last year, that you said
When the children told you that
When you reached into the jar
When you had disappeared into darkness
When you resembled yourself more fully than you ever had
When you accepted the requirements of the quest
When you reached a place where
When, in your most desperate state, you
When directed to by your superiors, and only then, you
When the day’s effort left you too tired to produce
When you had to
When you couldn’t
When you had no desire to
When raw desire seemed the only thing inhabiting you
When you could no longer
When you closed your eyes to rest and fell asleep
When even she wouldn’t listen
When in Rome, you
Whenever it seemed to you a good idea to
Whenever you awoke too late to remember your dream
When it had become a burden for you to remember
When it had become clear to you the day was longer than the night
When you were asked to
When you had risen up out of the water suddenly and without forewarning
When you had discovered
When you had found it
When there was nothing left for you to do but
When the time had come for you
Whenever you were not available
When your children had reminded you they had never been born
When the little hand stood up straight with the big hand for you
When you were done with counting and ready for spending
When the angels had come to you with word of the future
Whenever you could not distinguish between dream and drama
When your little finger tingled
When you needed to pee
When dinosaurs roamed your daydreams
When whatever was vicious or angry searched the day for you
Whenever you had the slightest desire to
When you believed in milkmen
When she had held you by your thumb
When you could take it no longer
When you had given all that you could give
When time stood not still but as still as it could, so a little quivery
When moving seemed your only option
When the wind hit you in the face
When you were left alone as a child and thought you’d never be found again
When you wanted
When you lacked
When you wished
When you took up arms against the houseflies
When your mother took you aside to ask you, a shadow of fear glancing across her face
When you had tried every other option
When you were trapped
When you believed you had freed yourself from it
Whenever you realized your limitations
When you were young enough to believe you would some day fly
When miracles were possible, just very very rare and never for you
When you had found it again
When you wondered
When you would sit under clouds all day and invent a lively world for each of them
When your father asked you to
When you felt the pangs of longing
When you wept as a child over nothing
When you wept as a child would weep
When laughter seemed your daily friend
When they came for you
Whenever the mood struck you
When you found yourself in those moments that distilled your life
When the knife first sliced across the edge of your finger
When you knew joy
When you remembered that was her name
When you had escaped from Alcatraz, though only via ferry
When there seemed enough sunshine for you in one day to last a week
When your knees gave way
When there was no hope
When two hands could not still you
When you felt a pain in your chest like a heart
When your feet tingled for minutes
When a breath wasn’t enough to satisfy you
When you caught a whiff of
When there was
When it seemed
When you
When it seemed truly something you could not exaggerate
When you needed to
When you had to
When they had forced you to
When you thought it was too late
When you had agreed to something you couldn’t understand
When you had tricked them all
When they had disappeared, leaving you alone and somehow peaceful
When you had made it to the last dog
When you thought only of eyelashes and the wind they make
When you just could not
When you were forced to against your will
When you sang
When you sang
When you sang
When you wrote down everything you couldn’t look up
When you watched how their eyes moved
When you found yourself lost
When you lost what you had earlier found
Whenever you wanted to
When you stood up in the middle of the crowd and demanded
When you realized something that never manifested itself
When you understood the flatness of the moon
When you accepted your destiny
When you required everyone to give you one thing too precious to part with
When you learned what hand you would always write with
When your hand was broken
When she kissed you on the back of the neck
When the night seemed as dark as the snow
When the sap flowed
When the day’s snowmelt had frozen into ice
When you exhaled just to see the shape of your departing breath
Even then, did you really understand it all?

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