Originally posted 12/26/2007. Formerly titled “Still”
I’m not sure how they happened
but there were times in my life
when everything slowed
and each of my moves was perfect,
no wasted effort,
arms synched perfectly swinging
as I turned toward the yard
away from the screen door closing behind me.
My vision sharpened at the edges
and deepened at the center of the field of view;
a jonquil stood out dead still from the lawn, its petals
cut into the green behind it.
There was a time I could stop the world
but I didn’t understand how useful that could be.
I have forgotten how. I have learned
how to think instead. Instead of
making the world stop
I stop myself and sit ass-heavy on the couch
thinking of good times.
Whenever I leave the house
I close the door behind me carefully now, never
letting it slam, making sure of the lock; I don’t know
how good times happen anymore
and I don’t want to scare them off.
I step out of the door
and I don’t see much color
out there, which is fine;
I’m excited now mostly by monochrome —
marathon television viewing, the relief
when a cigarette is finished and I can breathe
something that’s not
grey fire in my throat, the relief of
the fire that lights the next one,
the ice cubes in the whisky,
the longing for a long dead sleep
because the only time the world stops now
is when I am not thinking of it,
when I cannot see it at all,
when the dark eats my dreams
and at last for a while at least
I’m not regretting
the nagging poisonous hope
that one day I’ll remember the world,
recall how I used to see
the razor beauty of things
growing without thought.