Strangers

So close I can almost
hear your pulse.

I look into your eyes.
And yet

I do not really know you—
shadow-beings,

like light-blind strangers
behind dark windshields

of two cars
passing in the night.

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At the Crossroads Inn

Late night in a strange town.
What kind of town don’t sell booze
at the corner store?
Can’t get my mind off the
cold tapping of a limb
on the dirty window

and wondering if we ever grow out
of this incessant application
of the same fucking solutions
to the same fucking problems,
never solving anything, never realizing
the solutions are part of the problem.

Maybe even The Problem. I don’t know.
What do I know? I’m no deep thinker.

Not putting up with it for four more nights—
tomorrow I’m calling in a request
to have that damn limb cut off.

The book in the drawer
says to come unto me,
all ye that labour and are heavy
laden. Been told that all my life,
and tried it for most of it.
That promised rest don’t never come.
Don’t never come.

Starting to reckon there’s no one out there,
no one able to give rest, anyway.

Yellow light from the roadside
glimmers through window grime.
It’s not a sign of anything.
Nothing’s a sign of anything.

We haven’t spoken in years.

We haven’t spoken in years.

And the last time I saw you
at the yard sale, as you walked
among the collapsible tables

fingering the unwanted odds and ends
of someone else’s life, I couldn’t bring
myself to meet your searching eyes.

Having nothing to add
to what was said before,
I hid myself around the corner until

you finally picked up two crystal wine glasses,
a nickel apiece, and you never guessed
that I was there, watching, remembering.

Charles Erskine Scott Wood: from The Poet in the Desert

C. E. S. Wood_jpg
Where are you, Truth, where are you?
The Desert is pitiless.
I am frightened by its bigness and its indifference.
I am alone, an atom thrown out from Eternity,
Allotted to do my part.
I will do my part, and it shall be my own.
I refuse to be moulded in the common mould,
None different from another.
I refuse to step regularly according to custom;
To measure myself among the monotonous patterns laid out before me.
I will be myself and obey the voice within me
Which impetuously cries to be free;
To wander imperiously, destroying the paths,
The moulds and the patterns.
O Truth discover yourself unto me.