It is all in the mind, you say, and has
nothing to do with happiness. The coming of cold,
the coming of heat, the mind has all the time in the world.
You take my arm and say something will happen,
something unusual for which we were always prepared,
like the sun arriving after a day in Asia,
like the moon departing after a night with us.
- Mark Strand
I empty myself of the names of others. I empty my pockets.
I empty my shoes and leave them beside the road
At night I turn back the clocks;
I open the family album and look at myself as a boy.
What good does it do? The hours have done their job.
I say my own name. I say goodbye.
The words follow each other downwind.
I love my wife but send her away.
My parents rise out of their thrones
into the milky rooms of clouds. How can I sing?
Time tells me what I am. I change and I am the same.
I empty myself of my life and my life remains.
Your first time out of the country
of your own skin, I didn’t bring a map.
You always hated that I’d been lucky
enough to pick my way through streets
I couldn’t pronounce to find cathedrals,
graveyards. If you were a city, you said,
I’d only like to know your suburbs.
If you were a city, I said, I’d like to know
your poor neighborhoods, your inner parts.
Read your graffiti. Drink your tap water.
Feel your smog and dirt stick to my sweat.
Hear your orchestra of sirens and gunshots.
I’d know which of your streets to walk.
If you were a city, I’d expect to be robbed.” —Heather Sommer, Traveler (via grammatolatry)