Friday, November 4, 2011

Bartleby Revisited


I am, gentler reader, at a word, exhausted. Not tired. Not weary (although this word has shades of meaning that apply, to be sure).

ex·haust·ed /igˈzôstid/

Adjective:
1. Drained of one's physical or mental resources; very tired.
2. (of resources or reserves) Completely used up.

or:

wea·ry  \ˈwir-ē\

Adjective:
1. Exhausted in strength, endurance, vigor, or freshness

Nevertheless, things need be done. I cheat, perhaps, by using the words of others. In doing so, true, I surely am only doing what others have done before me. I have, by times, created, perhaps I can now simply borrow. And of course, by times, someone simply expresses something better than oneself is currently capable of. I rest, then, on the shoulders of giants.

Read, then, Gentle Reader, and consider:





She goes out to hang the windchime
in her nightie and her work boots.
It’s six-thirty in the morning
and she’s standing on the plastic ice chest
tiptoe to reach the crossbeam of the porch,

windchime in her left hand,
hammer in her right, the nail
gripped tight between her teeth
but nothing happens next because
she’s trying to figure out
how to switch #1 with #3.

She must have been standing in the kitchen,
coffee in her hand, asleep,
when she heard it—the wind blowing
through the sound the windchime
wasn’t making
because it wasn’t there.

No one, including me, especially anymore believes
till death do us part,
but I can see what I would miss in leaving—
the way her ankles go into the work boots
as she stands upon the ice chest;
the problem scrunched into her forehead;
the little kissable mouth
with the nail in it.


I see the problem, Gentle Reader, scrunched into your forehead, or perhaps mine. I can hear it, the sound that isn't there. No one, including me, especially believes that this post, or this poem, constitues an answer. It is not, for instance, Andrew Marvell, although some of that one rings true to me as well. We do not, it may be, have worlds enough, or time. We might, if we are lucky, or good, have till death. 

And I too can see what I would miss. Allow me, therefore, to stretch, tip-toed on the ice chest, and reach.