In such a time--
nestled against a tired but young river,
the smoke of insanity slowly clearing,
the countryside emptying of those who
cherish above all things squealing
at the consumerist trough,
I find deep breaths returning to my
And all the rest.
For decades, living in a rectangular landfill,
unaware of how deeply I was dying inside,
these 11th-prime days were despised.
They called to me, each one,
begging me to listen, to take heed.
But I steadfastly refused.
I believed so much back then what just wasn't true--
that I belonged,
that the rectangular landfill belonged to me,
and that those who lived there with me
cared about me.
They didn't; and I didn't belong there.
The pressure to Finish, to Walk Away, to Leave ...
ideations and ideas.
Mentations and the cramps
of wracking sobs.
The phone never rang.
No one cared.
The cold of October,
flurries and biting wind.
There was no color in the turning leaves then.
There was no color in me.
We are social animals,
so so many scientists who love the letters
beyond their surnames love to proclaim.
We need to belong, they say.
We need to be appreciated,
to feel we are valued members of our "tribes,"
of our societies.
To be ostracized, truly so,
is a great and profound punishment.
October is a place and a space and a sin.
There, not here.
Here it is the tired river.
It's fog draping over coastward hills
on its way here.
It's the return of silence.
Not the kind suburbans define as such:
the simple absence of sound.
No, it's the fullness of holy potential
in the turning leaves' rustle,
in their intense and prismatic glow,
in the sudden low hum of a hummingbird,
or the contented and quiet roar in trees' crowns
as ever-more insistent breezes push through them.
both here, in my heart,
and there, where tourists have abandoned,
belching and indifferenting their bloated way back
to their unlives ensconced in
canyons of lifeless concrete
far, far away.
October is grace and an embrace and a clothespin.
My spirit hangs by it like
a loose-fitting denim shirt
just washed and full of cold.