Saturday, October 18, 2008

Just so

Raw Process, LOL!

Just so

I know how to hold my head just so, so that when I look
in the mirror each day, I see the girl I have always seen,
the face I identify with self, with me, the green forest eyes,
the calm, yearning face.  But the world has forgotten who I am.
I know this, because pictures see what the world sees:
an old woman, lined, wrinkled and tired.

My mother always said, almost until she died, I'm still
.  She hated pictures of herself, hated the mirror,
preferred the girl inside who loved and laughed, who played
and danced.  Me too.  But I sing and dance a little less now,
because the world can't see that girl inside who sings and dances.
The world's version of me shrinks and crawls

inexorably toward death.  The world denies singing
to the dying. I see reflections of dark wings and disapproval
in the eyes around me, the world's eyes in all my friends'
and family's faces.  So I dance and dance.  I sing and laugh
and play at midnight, quietly, while the world sleeps. 
Darkness dances with me, swings me, like a partner.

   *   *   *   *   *

Write beyond the end of the poem, everyone always says. 
When you get to the end, when it feels like a nice neat little package,
you're almost ready for a breakthrough.  But my mind swings shut,
clamps down like a steal trap.  THIS is the END it insists,
stamping it's foot like a petulant child.

This is the end and there is no more and we have other things to do. 
So shut up and leave us alone. It's a stupid poems anyway, same old shit
and full of cliches and there is nothing new to add to it, nothing.
I was just noticing this morning, as I always do that I look sort of pretty in the mirror
and I look old and ugly in most photographs and I can only assume
that old and ugly is how I look to the world.

I was also chuckling about the photos that poets and writers put on their books, always about ten or more years younger than they really are.  Always having almost the identical simpering sad happy yearning melancholy look--the look that says this is the real me.  The inner me.  When you meet me in person, don't think that old husk is really me.

Of course, the old person really is us.  Because we have pain that slows us down, because we are tired and maybe grumpy, because age cripples not only the body, but also the mind and heart.  The dancing self is there, the child self is there, but the old and dying self grows stronger and stronger while the child self grows smaller and smaller, weaker and weaker.

I don't sing as often, as long.  I rarely dance.  I rarely swim or play.  And I am not spontaneously happy any more.  I've gotten old and I don't know how to change that.  Maybe I'm depressed.  Maybe I'm exhausted from insomnia. Maybe the world is weighing heavy on me and I don't know what to do about it.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

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