Monday, February 4, 2013

Other People's Ponds

I used to love the breakthrough moment.
The opening up, the tunnels that would form
out of nowhere and 
connect one thing to another.
The way a thread could form between 
two people
like it happened to 
fall off one of their sweaters and 
ended up in the other one's mouth. 

I used to like talking to strangers. 

Now I'm beginning to understand 
the other side. 
The dread involved, 
the careful rocky footpath that
runs along the outside of 
the interaction. 
I'm learning the art of 
how not to say anything at all
when I talk to people. 

It's not all it's cracked up to be, 
and so many people are greedy
with their words, 
and their questions. 
They go on and on, 
cranking them out like
an assembly line, 
always coming toward you, 
They don't seem to think at all. 
They just keep talking. 

And I'm ready to be done with that. 
All these people who see the thread, 
feel it in their mouth, 
and pull and pull until
you completely unravel. 
I am done with that. 

It's changed the way I ask
my own questions. 
I've learned not to unravel 
other people's sweaters. 
It's rude
and I don't want their pile of yarn 
They can keep it. 
I'm not greedy for their
troubled stories. 
I've enough
nightmares hanging around. 

I think more and more of a Rilke poem, 
the one that tells about
old sailors 
and their rocking cages
with terrible things inside. 
About the silence of old men. 

I have no more desire to disturb
the surface of things much. 
Knowing a tiny bit about
what could be under there
can do that to you. 

Now I say let the ripple stay 
just that. 
Think anything you want, 
but it's best not to stick your fingers
into the mud at the bottom, 
groping around to find the pebble
that caused it. 
Because sometimes it's not a pebble at all
but a stone, 
and someone else's at that. 

Or even worse, 
you come back up with nothing accomplished
but having stirred up the waters, 

and a handful of mud. 

These days I try to keep my hands 
clean as I can
and stay out of 
other people's ponds. 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This is such a well written piece that cuts right through to the bone.