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The book The House of the World has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and is now available on Amazon.

The Topic

Why do I want to sing
more than other men?
Why do I care?
Why do I puzzle my life every morning?
Why am I not content?
Help me with this.
Find me a topic.

My life runs like a dry river.
It flows so quickly nothing grows.
I am swept along by it.
I try and gain my bearings.
I look at the sun
and still contemplate last week’s sun.
I’m that slow.
I worship the stars.

Long after clouds wink them out
and the sun burns them away,
I look at the stars.
And my heart breaks.
Why is that?
Whose kindred are they?

Give me an idea.
Everybody has conclusions, beliefs, opinions,
pots and pans they beat,
store, melt in their fires.
I have none,
a congenital loneliness,
despair, slowness.
No ideas, no topics.

Just my heart wrapping its fingers
around the nearest post,
tethering itself, saying,
I have never known the place
I’ve actually been.
Sailors have told me the port.
Priests the canons I should follow.
Vagrants, the easiest refuge under a bridge.
But I have no way for myself,
no ideas other than the softness
of my childhood,
which never went away,
never hardened,
never lost its anguish and enchantment.
So brother,
give me a topic to write about.

Published inIndex of all Poems