Last week I had a really beautiful time with some gorgeous people, found myself laughing on a rooftop with near strangers, got caught in a terrible traffic jam, the sort where people got out of their cars and played guitar and talked to one another on the highway (the photo above is my sons standing through the sunroof. I started reading an incredible novel I’ve been waiting forever to read (20 years, actually), cried about griefs that were not my own and the apparent crumbling of something I loved building. And I found clear answers where I didn’t quite expect them.
Again I’m reminded of David Whyte’s words on beginning, from Consolations:
It is always hard to believe that the courageous step is so close to us, that it is closer than we ever could imagine, that in fact, we already know what it is, and that the step is simpler, more radical than we had thought: which is why we so often prefer the story to be more elaborate, our identities clouded by fear, the horizon safely in the distance, the essay longer than it needs to be and the answer safely in the realm of impossibility.
One foot in front of the other, we are forced into motion and we find ourselves stepping toward something new. Remember how last week I told you I was going to share a poem by an amazing human that was going to just slay you? Here it is. You’re welcome.
[Sometimes I don’t know if I’m having a feeling]
Sometimes I don’t know if I’m having a feeling
so I check my phone or squint at the window
with a serious look, like someone in a movie
or a mother thinking about how time passes.
Sometimes I’m not sure how to feel so I think
about a lot of things until I get an allergy attack.
I take my antihistamine with beer, thank you very much,
sleep like a cut under a band aid, wake up
on the stairs having missed the entire party.
It was a real blast, I can tell, for all the vases
are broken, the flowers twisted into crowns
for the young, drunk, and beautiful. I put one on
and salute the moon, the lone face over me
shining through the grates on the front door window.
You have seen me like this before, such a strange
version of the person you thought you knew.
Guess what, I’m strange to us both. It’s like
I’m not even me sometimes. Who am I? A question
for the Lord only to decide as She looks over
my résumé. Everything is different sometimes.
Sometimes there is no hand on my shoulder
but my room, my apartment, my body are containers
and I am thusly contained. How easy to forget
the obvious. The walls, blankets, sunlight, your love.
Copyright © 2015 by Matthew Siegel. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 8, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.
This poem. sleep like a cut under a band aid…How easy to forget/the obvious. Our prompt is to write with uncertainty. With your whole heart, write from your uncertainty, acknowledge it but don’t let the uncertainty stop you from stepping forward, from one line into the next. Alternate these starting phrases when you get stuck.
Sometimes I don’t know if…
Sometimes I’m not sure…