Plain American Language

I cut a sliver/of WC William's finger
and placed it inside/my philosophy...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

As Usual (revised previous poem)

As usual, I stand up from the toilet
closing my book of poetry (lately
I've been vacillating between
William Matthews and Mary Jo Bang).
I wash my hands. My back cracks;
my wrists crack. Scratch. Sniff.
Who says we aren't creatures of habit?
Perhaps in a more unrefined manner,
but I mimic the weather as much
as possible: my routines change.

Not as erratically as New England weather,
I suppose, and that is the only
difference and what I sometimes wish
I could change: how our winters
are sometimes warmer than they should be,
and my scarves and hats lay folded
and hung. What I ask for is consistency.
What we get is rain while the sun's out.
Those days are always the warmest and most curious to watch:
walking through moist August
then showered on, interrupted.

Do we expect these things to happen
always umbrella-ing our heads?
Or do we walk out into it, uncovered, nervous
about the inevitability that the outside--
like our insides--will change?
Bathrooms, on the other hand, were meant to sit in
and reach inner peace. On that cold seat,
whatever else drops out of you
rolls down your forehead
onto your lips like a sudden, relieved "Oh!"

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