There is so much wrong with liking your own face but it is also
sort of necessary. I want to be able to say, hey, I am alive and not so terrible.
I want it to be true. Gossip takes a lot of work, but something feels empty
without it. I have lived in a place ten months and not made a friend.
I don’t want your pity; this has become a point of pride. The cheating part
is I already had a sister here and a husband and really the rest of a family,
too. And I already had a cat and a house with long windows. And I had
some bathing suits but I bought more. You get the long-legged gist of it.
Anytime I see something large or spectacular I try to picture it from above.
I hate the limitations of my human state. I don’t want a school of stingrays
to swim around me, a mess of individuals. I want to see their school shape
and how I part them with my living body. I am an anchor by existing.
A stone smoothed downriver. Every now and again I begin to touch
the total logic of unknowing, but mostly my pride is too big for that.
I say to myself, let’s play a game where we are two and together always.
I say it out loud and I nod.
A crowd can see you walking down the street.
In this, the crowd is one. They do not sleep as one
or use a single razor to shave their legs and faces.
They are not touching, but they try, as one master brain
with many brains working in unison, to maintain
equal distances from each other. They carry a great hope
for one another. One day a child in the crowd will say
I once stood in a crowd and we carried such hope for each other.
That child will be grown then. To circumnavigate the crowd
is to get real individual, to pop a collective water balloon
over everyone’s head. You are arriving at the edge of the crowd
and you have a choice to make. The crowd does not appear
to be looking at you at all. You could die and the crowd
would feel sad and shocked and even violated by your
intrusive tragedy, but it would not really mourn you.
Without the crowd you are just a person.
You don’t even have a name.
Over and Out
You want to last forever.
You write your family name on the tag
of a picnic blanket and think, if this tears off,
I don’t even know. You go see a psychic. All she does
is allow you to put your face on the crystal ball. It smells
of maple. You tell her the reading was delicious
but now you need to fly yourself across the country
to a shore where someone famous once was.
You have a long-standing appointment
with serious fame. There are so many beaches left
where you can arrange shells into the shape of your name,
where you can arrange your body on a picnic blanket,
beautiful and thinning out, a mean gesture.