introductions

all this time it has been not self but other
that i have been dressing in soft cotton,
tight jeans, shoes that gleam with lamplight
tucked together under the corner armchair
or splayed, more likely, upon the coffee table,
or casually cast about the house after church.
all this time i thought i knew the mild man
whom i had fed, whose arms i had watched
grow long, whose coif i had forever wrestled
into socially acceptable postues: meek, divided,
neatly trimmed. all this time: all the books,
the best kinds of education, the provision of
transportation, affection, religious instruction.
and self turns out to have been other, all this time.
something socialized by strangers, something
that stayed up reading under the covers,
something that has recently begun to ramble
up and down the alleys whistling foreign tunes.
that’s gratitude for you. each night, i lay this body
down between sheets, watch it sleep, wait for dreams.
sometimes i forget to be anxious and fall asleep myself.
then comes the waking, always the worst kind of waking:
every blessed muscle charged like a stormcloud,
little hairs on end along arms and my uneasy neck
which can no longer really be said to be mine at all;
this too is of the other. who knows what it might do.

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2 thoughts on “introductions

  1. Seems like the eternal question about am I who I want to be or what society has created…I suspect most of us are a combination of both out of necessity….found your poem quite interesting.

  2. thanks for reading, slpmartin. i appreciate your response and i believe you are right in your suspicions. glad you stopped by.

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