Friday, March 9, 2007

Ludlow Street, February 2007

For some reason, this photo brings to mind my life as a single guy. Maybe it’s because there’s just one chair.

With that inspiration, I started to write something conveying my ambivalence about being single. But then I realized I’d done it already - in 1993, when I was 26 and living in a Moroccan village as a Peace Corps volunteer. Back then, I was torn. I liked the happy, independent simplicity of my life. But I was also aware that time was ticking, and if I didn’t want to be single forever, I’d better do something about it.

Almost 15 years later, I still feel torn. The "if" remains iffy.



For now, this is it.
My kitchen fits
On three short shelves,
Stacked up: three pots,
Three cups. I keep
Spices in old empties,
With faded labels
Ball-point blue.
Cumin, ginger, pepper:
Cued up, a choir
Waiting to sing.

I have a life.
I am midwife
To my candles, watching
Each one born and reborn.
They cry every time.
They know they’ll become nubs.
My tired jacket sags
From its wood hook
Like a punctured lung:
I am its oxygen.

I sleep narrow,
Imperiled on
A cliff of foam, from which
My blanket half cascades.
My feet peer out
Like two veiled brides,
Scrupulously white.

I am aware
Of my clock, its
Cycloptic stare, its
Apocalyptic tick.
I still have time
To settle in early,
To thumb my old books.
Yet, some nights,
I stir my hot tea
And watch its sweet steam
Thin and dissipate,
Wraith-like, before
My lineless face.

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