Paths of Desire
Paths of desire.
That’s the real name for these things that we walk across,
Roads that aren’t roads, carved out by many feet.
I call them paths of volition, though that’s wrong,
And the word echoes in my head.
Volition. Vol. it. ion. Part of it means to fly,
Though not in my language, and my feet
Fly along the paths that aren’t meant to be.
Deer trails, snaking their way around the hills,
Following the food or the water or something else
That we can’t see and they can’t miss.
I follow them, twist and turn, around the hill,
Up and down and up and down, until
I find myself in a little field.
The path has ended, and I am stranded.
The wind rattles the grass,
and the snakes rattle their tails,
and the cicadas chirp chirp chirp in the heat.
The frequency of their chirping would tell me
How hot it is, but I don’t really need to know.
The sun beats down on the pale hills,
Gold gold gold and so goddamn dry,
Grass dying and drying as soon as it grows.
(Not this year. This year it’s green,
And the river is high, and the thing
That is dying
Is us, drying out our world,
A raisin in the sun).
But this is the world I dream,
Smell the sage, feel the heat,
And it is as golden and as dry as ever:
Only the cactuses can live here,
Fat and plump as ever,
And don’t roll down the hill, kids, ‘cause it’ll hurt.
I move through the field,
Carving my own path of desire.
The grass crunches under my feet,
Scratches my hands as it rises up around me.
Path of desire.
Path of volition.
That last one is mine.
I follow it.
May 16, 2013
I have a secret name, you know.
I know that it is a secret, because
even when I tell it to people,
they don’t believe me,
or else they laugh and say
it’s strange, and anyway,
they never use it.
It’s mine, and it echoes in my head
in someone else’s voice
(always, always in that voice,
because I clung to it,
and ran it through the ridges
of my mind, until it formed a groove,
like bony shoulders and long,
skinny arms around me.
Now I practice it every day,
for fear of letting it slip away.
It hasn’t gone yet.
It’s outlasted everything else.)
He has a secret name, too.
His is a funny thing, because
we found it after he died.
It came whispering into our minds
in poems and in pieces and
We use it amongst ourselves.
It starts with an X, or else a Z,
and it is part of a name that he
abandoned, or else never used,
like his grandfather before him.
I’ll whisper it to you.
May 10, 2013
That’s the sound I made
Tumbling down into another decade.
That’s the sound that came
From the next ones who tumbled down the same.
They landed on top of
The ones who fell before.
We landed on the lot of
Those already on the floor.
The conveyor belt rolls on
And more are falling now.
There’s no way you can hold on,
Just shout on the way down.
April 28, 2013
There is a balance to be struck,
and I am often struck by the balance:
it crashes down on my shoulders,
(wide, wide, look at the size of
her back, they said), and I am
Atlas. Stand tall, they say,
stand taller, and smile,
and the world pushes down on me.
We strike the balance,
and the balance strikes,
and we are pushed down,
down down to the ground
(stand tall, stand taller)
and the clock strikes
at the same time
and the weight of time
is heavier still than the world
that already rested
on my shoulders.
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