Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Inside Out



author’s note:

Another poem posted earlier and recently revised.

I've heard that whales can signal to each other from many miles away.

I think people can do the same thing--we just aren’t aware that we’re sending and receiving.


INSIDE OUT

Whales bounce sound around
in thickly-layered water--
vibrations
alien to me, and yet--
somehow familiar.

The whole planet floats, rocks
up and down
on the ocean.
You can feel the motion
in your sea legs

and in your stomach--you feel pregnant, you feel
that life has tricked you
while you slept in bed.  You used to see
a sidewalk and a street
and think that was the world.

Now you can’t very well
tell anyone what you hold--
though we all walk around
with these bulks
in our bellies--
               and any erratic
movement
can cause the water
to splosh,
to spill
and then some small part of you
will land on the pavement
like a broken egg.  Something
purple or maybe dark blue--something
of another world and yet
there it is
in this world.

So what do you do?

You feel an urge to clean that puddle
up.  You also feel the urge
to flee.

Maybe you broke because someone nearly
smacked into you--or maybe you two
did collide--and now someone you don’t know--
or maybe someone you thought you knew--
stares down, mesmerized but also partially
sickened by that inexplicable amniotic fluid
squiggling and twisting
on the asphalt.

“I’m sorry,” you say.  “No--my fault,”
comes the response.
But owning up doesn’t change the aftermath.
You’re both still shocked and awkward

and if you could leave you would
because the other person also spilled

and now his lake begins to
curl into yours as yours begins to curve
around his

and thus,
we are confronted with the supernatural,
with newly discovered lifeforms.

You knew they existed, but after
seeing that splotch
on the ground
you can no longer
ignore
their existence.

So again--what can you do?
You can’t run away because
the stronger will says to stay.
But you can’t wipe it up because
it's not a mistake, not even an accident--
what will be done is done and
what’s done is not yet over.
We’ll just have to let
what will happen
happen.

I will say this:
our life, at least,
is now
much more

interesting.

© 2008, Michael R. Patton
poems in audio

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