walking


a long time ago
when I thought such things mattered
I made my way East from St. Paul
toward New York
stopping at every city in between

it seemed important to stretch
to leave the homeland behind
but when I finally made it to the East coast
they only let me stay for a few weeks
then they pushed me back toward the Midwest

as soon as I was deposited back onto my doorstep
they too began to push
"what's the matter?
we're not good enough for you?
we saw you sneaking off to New York City..."
and the next thing I knew
I was in another van
on another highway
headed toward the sunset

St. Louis, Denver, Santa Fe, Las Vegas
San Bernardino, Barstow
Los Angeles?

I tried to stay in the peaceful mountains
with the trees and birds and waterfalls
but they pushed me to the canals
and another self-conscious freak show
that didn't want me
so I felt myself being pushed again

they kept pushing me away
until they couldn't push me any further
and rather than put me in a boat
headed for China or Greece
they left me here
at the far Western edge
left me here to disappear
into this harbor town

but what they didn't know
is that they left me
in the best place I've ever been
and within a week
I found myself gaining strength
and rather than disappearing
I became stronger
and more defined

and now that I am ready to push back
any move I make toward them
feels like a red hot knife
slipped in
between two small ribs

so I remain here
quiet
still
waiting

in the best place
an exile
could ever land


mjp
Perhaps the truth depends on
a walk around the lake.
~ Wallace Stevens
More Poems
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Spring/At Great Pond
Earth, Your Dancing Place
Angels
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Clear as Mud
Mockingbirds
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Sabbaths 2001
Center
Morning Poem
Aunt Leaf
The Peace of Wild Things
An Observation
The Calf-Path
Sometimes, I Am Startled...
The Visitation
Wings
Praise Song
Putting in a Window
Monet Refuses the Operation
A Blessing
Making a Living
The Poetry Bus
Homemaking
Old Woman in a Housecoat
Soundings
My Father's Lunch
Lightening the Load
Thoughts in a Garden
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WELCOME!
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Wild Card
Appeal to the Grammarians
Bread Soup
Explaining Relativity to a Cat
In Praise of Craziness
Martha
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Thus Spake the Mockingbird
Trust
Undelivered Mail
Winter Is the Best Time
Surprises
Reading History
Radiator
Song of the Open Road
I Chop Some Parsley
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Cowboy Poetry
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walking
To the Man in a Loden Coat
Fermanagh Cave
Highway Five Love Poem
School Day Afternoon
Late for Summer Weather
Quilts
So Much Happiness
Employed
Te Deum
The Testing-Tree
Vacuuming Spiders
Six Significant Landscapes
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Reconsidering the Seven
They'll
Miscellaneous Poetry