Various and Sundry Poetry

traffic jazz

"Are you waiting for time to show you some better thoughts?" - William Stafford

The answer is yes. Yes please. Give me time, give me better thoughts. Tell me if I should wear something else to the party tonight. Tell me if I should move to Portland, if I will marry someone else, if I will play basketball again, if I will fall off my rollerblades one day. Show me better thoughts. Show me how to knit, how to bake bread, what to do with all those potatoes in the drawer. Tell me what I’m working towards, whether the poetry will pay off, if the spring will be filled with appointments and catering jobs, if I will get caught in the rain, if my car will survive another few trips without the oil change, if I should look into Sausalito, if I should be a better friend, sister, lover, if I should look into classes, anything, ceramics, swimming, yes tell me if I should be swimming, if laps would do me good, tell me if the year will be kind, if my health insurance will actually cover any of my dermatology bills, tell me if the DMV will right the wrongs of my driving record, tell me if my credit will be enough to buy a house, if my love will be enough, if my desire will hold. Give me better thoughts. Give me more sex. Give me whole evenings of touch, no telephone, no plans, no nothing. Give me focus. Give me flexibility. Take the numbness out of my feet entirely. Rid my body of whatever ambivalent toxins remain. Show me how to fall on my face. Show me clumsy and large arms swinging. Show me dancing after the argument. Show me how to not be so angry when I’m angry. Tell me how to step away from the fire. Show me proper distance. Remind me what’s mine and what isn’t. Remind me how to write, often. Remind me to make the phone call. Tell me to press the numbers even if I’m tired, have nothing to say, feel guilty about my absence. Show me to be present, to present myself, to introduce myself as is, faulty, unfocused sometimes, easily disappointed, injured, afraid to say it. Show me how not to be afraid, how to call the words forth even when I’m afraid. Give me better thoughts to say things with. Show me the street, the precious lost quarters, the small toy in the gutter, the jazz playing somewhere in the distance. Show me a jazz note, trembling, warbling, then sliding, swishing its way down river, show me the way it fuses into the other songs of the street, the garbage trucks, the call of a homeless man, the traffic, the windows in the cars all closed, show me how a note like that wends its way past noise and closed windows, show me the lightness of that note, the ease, the pliancy, the willingness to sidle in between garbage trucks and traffic and slip, unseen into a closed window, where it is then seen, and felt, and all at once, understood.