"Shame"

"Shame"

"Shame"

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A weekly poem, read by the author.
March 22 2005 11:43 AM

"Shame"

                                                 after Pessoa

I miss things that meant nothing to me
and so much was nothing.
The world begins returning
like a sailor climbing the hill
to his house, lugging a duffle
bulging with what really happened.

As if the leaves aren't falling
in your mind. As if your memories
aren't like bright leaves falling,
so that the sidewalks are there
only because they are remembered
under the leaves, and things not remembered
are reshaped and unsaved.

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I labor to defend myself
against the tedium of the telephone
and its cries of uncaring delight.

These dreams, these visions,
what a vulgar way to be released.
But the squeak of my office chair
is not better, the static of admonition
on the public address system.

My co-worker says, the nice thing
about all this is you can't miss
what you can't remember.
Suppose you had Alzheimer's.
You'd stare at the phone
and it would mean less than nothing.

Shame of the insensate rushed hour.
Immobilized in spurts on the way home,
I miss my knitted sweater,
I miss my grandmother.
Then I climb the hill
with leaves layering the driveway
and the structure of maples candidly clear.