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
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.


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.

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)


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