I Hired an Introspector

a splice


I sigh—a yawn’s weighted precursor—and look up
at the stars, those symbolic toys of ours,

sagging with our projections,
mythology and penitent prayers

they are points of gravity above our endless circles.
and I am a routine patient

of their good-natured transcendence. They listen (or I pretend they
do, project upon them patient ears,

wise eyes that occasionally twinkle)
young buck, they say

goodnaturedly, as I ask my nightly question:

What if I’m wrong?

I might be wrong. It’s more than possible. Right? If anyone could be,
it could be me. But the stars hand down their eraser

and I scrub furiously at the angry scrawl I’ve drawn around my head
I draw atoms in various combinations, construct amateur towers

more Jenga than Eiffel, halfassedly trying to stumble across
the correct construction for peace,

and a blueprint for a burly messenger, who can deliver
the message I need, have been waiting for

by my P.O. box

Because the fear is there again
like a baby tornado

kicks up doubt and dust and deposits me
like the prize from a gumball machine into the hands of the road

to within, where death and awe
are two sides of the same coin, behind an ear

*            *            *

I am inside looking out,
at the sunsets, happening in succession around the globe

like curtains falling constantly,
being drawn, to shut inside the quiet of night and

the routine of our withdrawal. Our queries
concerning place: Paris or Wisconsin

Or deeper:
who stole the soul?

And we don’t want an academic answer
or a religious one

but we don’t know what other kinds there might be
plenty of “worldviews” and “ways of life” and all are worth a chuckle

or a smidge of respect if we’re in a social setting that demands it
All in search of a lifeline and a thinly sliced love,
shared on a bench by two skinny birds

Dissent is natural, part of life

in cities and Section 8 housing and manifest
in gloves lost by well-intentioned friends—

a domestic scene evident in every walk-up apartment
on every block. A man like you, a man like me…cause, effect

What do we make of it?

I make of origami swans and tree frogs the blueprint for my great escape,
drawn up on Monday, printed at the printshop down the street, for that Friday

but in the moody course of another disillusioned week,
things drown happily, hazardly, in a water avidly opaque,

bleating: He was happy

Rising into the air around my cursed and curling roots
are germinated seeds, which counter: Everything is free

Echoed by the ferns

in the first stages of resurrection
on a small farm in Illinois

that begs its hills for patience. Easy for them to say,
I’m up in the attic of the farmhouse. It needs repainted

and though it’s now empty, I hear its once-begotten chests asking
if I’ve forgotten—I think of all the things they could mean

Jesus, etc.

Maybe I come back down—maybe not
As mysterious as my big ship, which haunts my closedeyes

vision like an angry current,
or a weary nurse’s bad vibes

*            *            *

My friend (who I refer to as “H,” to protect Him/Her—to
ensure his itinerary) thinks conspicuously of our journey

And I summon every blessing and their origin
in the only way I know how:

A song for my nothing,
for my borrowed something, and gibberish endings

He looks over: my mask is masked by its straight black lines,
simple and true and therefore the antithesis of every other mask

On my solemn isle, in my lonely shed of unpolished gems
I grow until I can stand, until I am tall enough to touch,

and then crush the ceiling. Up, up, up

We’re fine—the stars have what I hope is sympathy in their eyes
and not pity or pitilessness—as I listen for their reassuring tenor



A.B., M.R., H.J., T.Y., G.V. & K.V., J.B., C.M., B.H., W.E.W.,
J.V., O.E.G., M.B., J.D., D.R., P.W., L.F., L.D., A.D.,
S.B., J.T., C.M., R.L., M.K., S.S., B.E., J.W., M.D., and L.C.

One Response to “I Hired an Introspector”


  1. PACKAGED 11.1 « read::zebra - February 5, 2011

    […] I Hired an Introspector […]

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