I’m cross legged at the only outdoor table open on the east side
of Manoa road cafe.
There are three other tables here,
& on either side of me
sit men and women with Safeway trolleys
loaded to capacity with all their belongings.

I could pass for being homeless, too–
my rusty hand-me-down bike
propped up against the table shade. Still clearly wearing
my pajamas (which were also
my day-clothes for yesterday).
The shower in the hostel wasn’t working this morning, so
maybe the hard smiles catch
the salty scent of sheen.
By a social definition, I am sorta
homeless.
Aimless.
Avoiding career, in appointed name of
laziness, I seek
to uncover unfathomed worlds within and without.
Now I can’t imagine
what it’s like to be actually homeless—
to have no other option but to beg for my bread. It’s
ignorant, malignant
to believe that I do.

But what I can understand
is the feeling of being in this society of

to-do lists, grocery lists,
lists of wants, lists of needs,
schedules, parking complains,
paying the bills to people who also
want nothing more out of life
than to pay the bills—

& seeing it unfold like castaway brochures,
definitively not belonging there. Like a
fraud, I hook the Safeway shopping basket
in the crook of my arm & flap the paper
upon which I’ve written “oats” & I smile
like all of this interests me.

Truth?

It doesn’t.
I can’t be bothered
to be angry that car didn’t wait for me to cross the zebra crossing.
Nor that the woman with a full trolley of bread & liters of coke
moved in front of me + my oats to check out first.
It’s boring to care about that.
To care that for love of my soft olive-striped tee shirt
I wear it ‘too often’.

What interests me
is poetry; & the poetry
of souls exploring perspective.
It’s becoming truer & truer
to say that what I seek is the divinity within me,
& Aurelius’ union of Nature and soul.

As I sit here, under the black umbrella
of the middle table, I find more soul
to the left & right than in front. Men & women
who—perhaps through bitterness, through fatigue,
through pain, through bad luck—have come to
patience to sit still & see.

To see the people who
don’t see each other, eyes
downcast on lists of lists.

Truth?
Much more beauty lies in the finite,
more than in the fixed.


2 Comments on “We Are Mortal

    • “The internal conversation known as dreaming is no more an event limited to the hours of sleep than the existence of stars is limited to the hours of darkness.” (Ogden)

      Like

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