Monday, January 14, 2013

The Short Guy

The short guy in my knowledge
is enamored of the tall guy,
and so they lie down together,
a Mutt and Jeff, and I
wonder how such an awkward
arrangement has happened.
These old friends over
the years who have mated
how many times still
wait for the opportunity to do
so again. I can picture the act
but lack sympathy, and why
should I have any? It's not up to me
to define. I'm incongruous in my own delights,
supple and slippery, and I suppose
there are those who cannot imagine
what I do. I strive nowadays to be
inexplicable, to satisfy my yearnings,
if not at the spur of the moment
at least potentially. So long
have I given myself nothing,
reargued my position over and over
until I was thoroughly convinced
that deprivation was a kind
of outline. I could live wholesomely
inside it, never despairing
because I had accepted what
was not mine. Suddenly I see
license, or gradually saw it,
and now I have questions that
install me squarely among others.
A kind of drowning in freedom
from which I needed protection,
so I constructed a small garden
I could traverse in an hour.
What can I do now? I seem to have
discovered desires and lost
myself. How can things be so open?
To act is simple—to restrain is impossible.
My poor garden is as beautiful
as ever but has become a fiction.
I lust after circumstance,
to be eternally baffled,
to say for the moment,
"No, I have no idea what I mean,
but I've spoken and I refuse to retract it."

(This poem appeared in Confrontation.)

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