Anything but this knowing that a cigar is never just a cigar
(do you know how hard they are to find these days)
Anything but this unasked-for knowing, yes, please.
Can someone make it stop?
This horrid knowing that a glance is never just a glance
and that everything (even a sesame seed, or a sliver of wood)
can be made to shatter into hundreds thousands
possibly millions more words no one ever asked for
Picking up along the way
(like cartoon tumbleweed, you can see it)
motives desires rebuffs betrayals beckonings
as soon as the criminal with the pen
bothers to put in on a page.
Who needs all that nuance, all that metaphor
on a choking neon planet of garbage steeped in ocean?
If you are unfortunate enough to be hailed as a writer
(either by your own mind or by anyone else)
there are always the endless deadly questions
why did he why did she why didn't they
wouldn't that make a great story
I bet you could use that, couldn't you
I am weary of revealing my identity as world witness.
Is there a writer on the plane? I would not let the one
starved for poetry die gasping in 13B but
I cannot promise I would feel good about
my life-saving cinquain as I disembarked, either.
What I wouldn't give to hold a chenille pillow,
or cradle an old dog or a fussy infant,
or reach for a scrolled floral glass,
and to have no questions about the occupied
space between my hands, the history of what
has come to visit between my fingers and how
it came to get there.
Just for once I would like to think
nothing much at all of a once-lover or a child
in a cage or twisted horned animal on
the shoulder of the highway.
I should like to go about my day stripped
of the ability to form any question,
feel any curiosity, because don't they know
that questions are the reasons for all this fizzy blood,
all this salty churning, all the nighttime voices
with their own vile questions.
Think of the kettle, emptied for guests, unnoticed,
unable to call out from its place on a quiet blue flame.