anything but this (a writer's lament)

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.