THE STRINGS ATTACHED
I am not what I say about myself—Yasmina Reza
Lean with illness, lack of sleep,
anger grieving at a scarlet sunset silent in the sky,
the blossoming wind of winter’s rise toward spring,
all simple things become taunt, metaphor, measure.
As I tire, I see a fool an hour.
I hate a little more.
The lies begin mid-week—
stuttering spatter of a laugh,
a chatter of best intention
dripping like water from shaking hands.
I steer towards the damaged,
brokenness I can buy—
a landscape imagined as shattered pedestals,
wild piles of leaves igniting azalea, jasmine, gardenia,
whistling emptiness of building stakes
marking cracked sidewalk, over-grown lot.
Neatly orphaned, mostly abandoned
I revise my narrative
to fit the red and white of a revolutionary’s scarf,
to fit a French blue Oxford shirt.
Contradictions charm, whether sly or savage.
No one gets to know everything—
the cause for censure, the sibling break,
why the amusement when an aging comic fails,
why no wonder at the luminous child bride.
Breathless, a little self-absorbed,
a hard cough cracking my chest for weeks,
I adjust silence
so no messages are returned
that do not flatter.
That I’m moving beyond
the structures of easy grievances
may mean nothing.
Non sequitur retains its pleasure:
the stack of books beside the sofa
profile warfare, poetry,
the bluster of satire and sycophancy.
As I ache, illness takes over.