What Weighs, #232

The tire of flab
I am strapped with
round my belly,
which is nothing more
or less than
all the nights out
at restaurants who
take pride in portions
for each person
big enough for a family,
the lunches grabbed
because they were hot
and fast and filling,
cheap at the food court,
the days I slept late
rather than waking
for a brisk morning run
or sat like a lump
in front of the TV
or computer screen
while the sun did laps
around the earth
and the moon
did laps around
the earth, and the world
moved on around me,
every trip to the fridge
just to peek, that ended
with a cheese sandwich.

The air in my lungs,
though not much,
still weighs a ton
and takes the effort
of a lion both
to push it out
and suck it back in,
as if I were running
a black hole that ran
both ways. All the matter
of the universe
spit out far enough
that it needed
to be replenished,
and as soon as experience
made it tasty enough
that it became nutrient,
then the universe
breathing it back inside it.
The air in my lungs,
though not much,
weighs like the hand
of God reaching down
into creation and saying,
“Go, love the world I have
created, then come back
and tell this blind one
what of this living
you have seen.”

We are weighed down
by our morality,
built not on principles
of what works,
of what God allows
to work, as is all
the physics and science
of the universe, but
based instead on what
our limited hearts
and minds and intellect
can imagine a good
and great God would
take as good and great,
as if not only did one create
a universe of plentiful
beauty and imagination
but also a mine field
or maze to be run through.
So we can build mine fields,
and we can kill those
who would kill, and we can
chastise the ones who
see only God’s many fruits
and none of them forbidden,
who believe the laws
laid out and hidden
in the objects and methods
rather than on pages in books.

We are weighed down
by our choices,
by their future implications
and the echoes of past
anguish they harken back to,
the hits and misses, bad beats
of cards played
and good cards left
sitting on the table
face down. Everyone
tells you the ones that win
in the long run are the ones
who “dance like no one
is watching and love
like you’ve never
been hurt.” Easy to say,
but the weight that weighs
heavy, that rolls your shoulders
over until you are hunch
backed. The osteoporosis
of our anger we’ve hoed
and buried, means
the only crops we believe
we can raise would be
stunted and mutant
and unworthy of the time
it would take to shuck them
and draw out enough fruit
to make a meal.

The boxes we ship
our technology in, work
lost to get a grapefruit
from the trees in the tropics
to a shelf in upstate New York
and still be fresh.
It would make more sense
for cold northerners
to just eat plums
and apples and leave
the tangy juices of Dole
on the shores of Puerto Rico.
But we don’t. We send
the scientists, who could
be working to cure disease,
to come up with ways
to keep refrigerated
the fruits of labor,
freeze dried dates
and cured meats,
wasting petrol
to bring particular labels
to areas already overstocked
with trees and livestock
that too will be shipped out.
What work we could save
if we could eat what was given
rather than what fine foreign
cuisine our taste-buds crave.

The luggage we carry
on trips to foreign lands
weighs down the trip
and the plane, the things
of travel, accouterments
and toiletries, the peanuts
to keep us distracted
in flight, and the attendants,
trained to take care
of our hysterics and our cravings,
to take down terrorists
or anyone who dares
to disturb the quietness
in which we all sit
knowing we are doing a thing
wholly unnatural, kept up
by the weight of our
ingenuity and understanding
of the laws and counter-laws
that govern the universe.
If you can take your coat,
made of fine leather
calf back, and place it
over your head, tightly
enough wrapped, you won’t
have to see or think about
anything until you end up
woken up and landing
in a foreign land.

The fuel on the plane,
which is nothing more than
the carcasses of races
of creatures, nothing more
than the leather calf back
coat you have strapped
over your head, weighs
down the plane. So, while
you are wrapped up in
your own world, taking time
to forget where you are
at the moment
you can wonder
where you are going
and why this trip
seems so important,
why you packed no luggage,
bought a one way ticket,
sold all your belongings,
emptied out your fridge,
why you sold the house
and the car and gave
all the money away.
How much weight
you’ve lost. How long
you have waited to make
this flight and that call.
The response that came back
and weighed heavy.

I left a kiss for you
on the porch steps,
where I stepped away
and into another life.
I left a kiss behind
in the mail box
with a stamp
and an address on it.
I left a kiss for you
on my lips, a kiss
I swore under my breath
I would give to no one
but you, a kiss
meaning more than
my breath or time
or the wastefulness
of all our wasteful
spending. A kiss meant
to fulfill your wildest
wishes, a hope,
that for once my kiss
would mean something,
that it would earn me
a shot at being the man
your imagination dreamed,
that we both hoped
I could be. I left a kiss
for you I am now returning.
It weighs nothing.



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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