I Can’t Breathe

Posted: September 15, 1993 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

why can’t I
just be another guy?
but I’m a person
with a snake-sharp tongue
and I’m a ripped flannel…
I shoot my mouth like a shotgun.
riddles and rhyming and rhythm,
not taken seriously enough to stay honest
just another number in the GTE phone list.
I lie and I lie and I lie
to convince you all
that the poet is just another human being;
that I am just another guy.

I thresh through these lines
like a dog wrapped in seaweed,
thrown with stones in the ocean:
I can’t breathe –
there’s all the smoke from the fires I’m lightning,
I’m telling the sheriff that I’m struck by lightning.
when does it all stop echoing ‘round in circles?
I think it’s just another dream.
I’m on a porch with a candle and a carpet;
there’s crickets all around
and I feel wonderful without the world dragging me down.
look, I see you don’t understand with a frown.

I can’t even repeat what I’ve said.
I can’t think of a poem I’ve written,
then read,
and thought that this is it, this is perfect!
I’ve even given up trying to rework it.
I don’t want to write for a living anymore
I feel like the homework that’s always lost to the dog
and I don’t remember whatever
I expected from myself anymore.
these fireworks of joy that I wished to paint the skies with
are nothing more than explosions
of white-winged moths from a log
that I’ve kicked walking alone in the woods.

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