From books to bees (a poem)

A new typewriter poem. I wasn’t quite in the right frame of mind for anything to flow very easily—but, a few small edits later, this is what I got.

I don’t like highlighting in books

How can you get something new from the text
if you have to review everything you noticed last time?

I prefer to be surprised

Even if I can see ahead to the next development
perhaps it will be described in such a way
that I remember it after the story ends

My story allows for no such marks
it is not possible to highlight a day—or an hour—or a moment

A page will have to do as proxy
the closest approximation one can make

A photograph does have the benefit of the visual element
but the names of almost everyone pictured
will be forgotten—
one of those fun gags memory likes to play on us
when it is feeling overtaxed

That’s how reality is shaped
the way we remember it is what happened—
until someone else says something
that unlocks a previously missing piece

Then it all changes—
unless the misremembered event
has become so entrenched in identity
that the corrected memory fails to take

Did that tall ship on stormy seas
really hang in every house for most of the Seventies?

How many times do we have to ask the same question
before someone says ‘you already asked me that’?

I try not to ask a lot of questions
I figure if someone wants me to know something
they’ll tell me

I can see why someone might interpret that
as lack of interest

There are plenty of things in which I lack interest
all of them would be useful, I’m sure
but I’ve never been known for the rationality of my logic

It makes sense to me, which is all I need
confounding expectations is not a hardship for me
(hardship is an entirely separate matter)

What matters is freedom and happiness

I may often be short of one or the other
but I am still going to choose my own way to get there

As I often say: ‘If you don’t know where you’re going,
go somewhere else’

The only drawback is that I am often too stubborn to take advice
not unlike the fly that enters my apartment
then spends the next hour trying to get out
only to make its way to the bathroom
where certain death at the business end of a towel awaits

The bee is more sensible
holding to a steadier flight path
until I open the door wide enough
for it to return to the great outdoors
where flowers newly opened
are ready for pollination

I don’t keep flowers or plants in my apartment
they never last more than however long it takes
a plant to die of dehydration

The cat has the advantage of being able to tell me
when it’s time to eat—
and she takes advantage of that all the time
especially when I am sleeping

I don’t know what my advantage is
Persistence? Stubbornness?

Landing is often bumpy
but I have yet to crash

Something seems to save me at the last possible moment
like the countdown timer that stops at 0:01
or the missile that explodes after it is safely above the atmosphere

I’d really like to stop talking about myself
but that’s what I’m stuck with, day after day
and I write about what’s around me

The cat (my other constant companion) can fit herself most anywhere
often I will not see her because she has found another secluded spot
and I don’t know she’s even there
until she emerges, stretching and yawning

She probably knows this place better than I do
because I don’t fit in those spaces
and I focus on the same things again and again

I’ve probably seen this movie twice a day for the last several weeks
by now it may be my most-viewed movie ever

When I was a kid, it never occurred to me
that you could see a movie more than once
and that was when a movie could play for months at a time

If my life were a movie
I’d be constantly yelling at the screen
somebody has to be there to yell at me

Not that it would help

I’d turn off the lights and get under the blankets
and live by the light of the screen
getting up to kill the occasional housefly
or open the door for a bee

Flies die—bees be…

(14/15 May 2018)