Various and Sundry Poetry

coming clean

the strangest of things, this ratio

between telling the truth

and hiding it

how much I wanted to tell the woman at the cafe yesterday

she was speaking too loudly, overloudly,

and what she was saying

wasn't worth the noise.

she was talking with a friend about how much

she hated small talk

and i wanted to tell her to stop complaining already

and get with the program,

she didn't need the small talk

she was older, now, could get to the center

of things, could tell her dates anything

forget that stuff about how long

she's lived in this city or how tiresome

the commute is to the job in San Jose,

even if the benefits

are keeping her there

small talk

she was talking small

but loud and oh how I wanted to tell her

to shut the fuck up, i was reading

or just having my coffee, but either way

she was disrupting the peace.

i said nothing, felt

embarrassed, if that's the word,

to say anything, and kept my own mouth shut

and small

said nothing, and the coffee was bitter,

the words on the page kept

repeating themselves,

i said nothing,

and nothing, in the end, was said.

and realizing, this morning, waking up,

the things i've hidden

even from myself

the small embarrassments

the daily precipice i dance against

the dizzying grief of questions marks


what are you going to do with this life


why haven't you been working to your potential


why haven't you been working


where is the money going to come from


where is your money going


when are you going to grow up, girl?

i wonder, if i'd said these things aloud

would the woman in the cafe have called me foolish

or simply knotted herself into a tight coil

of furious silence, found her life needlessly interrupted

by my personal metaphysics?

would my talk have been small and overloud to her?

would she have found my questions childish

and hopelessly uninteresting?

would she tell me to get with the program, sister,

because these aren't at all

the questions to be asking?

would she have reminded me

to drink my coffee

while it was still hot?