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I was every inch an animal
An incomplete catalog(ue) of what, exactly, the hell I think I've been doing. Plus I read you a poem about a living thing changing.
What can I tell you? I wrote 30 poems last month. What I mean to say is I wrote every day for 30 days last month. Some of them I wrote are almost poems and most of them were practice. My roommates and I drove 1300 miles from Chicago to New Mexico hauling 1500 pounds of books, organized by size and texture, also their importance. Now they're in a climate-controlled closet in Santa Fe, where they'll stay for two years, at most, not another day more. I miss my old dead perfect dog. Can't imagine that will change. Which is wild because of how everything only changes. Even how missing. Even my mind. My hair is long again, which it always is, but longer than before. Three days from now I'll see my mother. Four days from now I’ll hear a band play in El Paso. I picked up a table and put it down beside a window that looks out at a mountain where the sun comes up. I drank my tea there this morning, all day yesterday too. I am maybe sitting there right now, maybe looking at a mountain. I bought four bags of tea and each of them is excellent. I cleared a cold in eight days. You know what they say. Don’t take care of her she’ll stick around for seven days. Take care of her she’ll be gone in a week. I tried to take care of me. I made me my soup. I said, one time or maybe twice, friends, I need to take it easy. And I did, and it was fine. We told the world we are in business, we've been in business, doing business. Any second now I’ll have a business card in my hands, then you’ll know what I mean. Business. I know you know already. I need a sheath for my knife. I need so little. I ask for what I need. I say it out loud. I write it down. I am going to have a good life. I have a good life. I've decided. It's the only one I want. I had a moment, back then, I wasn't so sure. Right now I am. Probably looking at a mountain. Missing my old dead perfect dog and grateful she lived at all. She lived the good half of her life with me and when she did, it was a good life then too, even when I didn’t know it. Everything only changes. The other night I watched the sun set from the window opposite the window with the mountain where the sun comes up, with a big sweet living dog all spooned across my lap. I tried to write a poem about him. I found a file of 30 poems I wrote last August and haven't looked at since. I bought a bra that fits me. I found a life that fits me. Nothing major, but it's mine.
I wonder what will change.
Also I read this poem again and again.
I read it again with you now.
I Had a Mane Once
A glorious thicket. A generosity
for all the cicadas to visit
when the rains descended.
I let the hornets make a mockery
of me. I didn’t sweat it.
I let them sting and sting.
Because I was enormous
and magnanimous I cut my leg
and let the maggots build an Empire.
What did I care? I’d say to the fox,
There’s enough meat in me
to go around. Then I’d stretch
so the grubs could find new avenues.
And they’d shiver with gratitude.
They’d pass out drunk along the edges
of the wound. I was my own
economy. You could see me coming
from miles around. And yes,
I could break your last best thing in half.
And yes, I was every inch an animal.
But most days I was merciful:
I’d pretend I was sleeping. I’d take all my danger
and lay it at the river’s edge.
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