Walking -- A Poem

I'm currently waiting to hear about a manuscript and so I've found I have some time to do other writing each day. So I thought, why don't I put some of it on my blog. So I'll be posting poetry, and other stuff here each day. Not much. But enough, I think.

I hope you enjoy the poem below as much as I enjoy writing it -- it's not done, I don't think. Feel free to comment, but please be compassionate. Thanks for reading.


I walk in a forest, or through a field of grass, or down a chalky sidewalk, or in classrooms after classrooms, down aisles of students with their papers and books in tumbles on their desks, through dark and bright rooms filled with tables and chairs and people sitting at tables in chairs, talking, and talking, and talking. My walking is a practice of necessity, of coercion -- or is it consent? My walking is a practice of contemplating the things needing to be ignored, that hurt to hear, or that give us joy to know -- I mean, really know. I mean, deep joy in my bones. My walking is like falling in love with someone you know will break your heart one day, but the break is worth the incredible journey, the vistas you get to see, the touch of another who cannot think of anything or anyone else but you, and you know all this and feel it too.

On my walk, everyone around me is in bright-colored clothes, and they speak in tongues of wondrous syllables. They offer me crumbs of themselves. And I gobble them up because it feels good to know and be known in this way. I walk and consume others’ words.

I find myself constantly in this place or that one. I feel crowded yet desperate for someone I often do not know how to describe. Those I know whiz by me, their voices in doppler fashion say things I only partially pick up, and many call it connection or friendship. She says quickly how are you, and he says without hearing you that we had a lovely time at the restaurant with all the birds, and the other she says as she walks out the door that she values our words together, and another he tells me we are close because we have seen each other pass by in between classes and meetings on campus. But no matter who I see, what I pass by, or where I end up, something feels untucked, or untuckable, like wearing pants that are sewn wrong with one longer leg.

Occasionally, I will stop my walking to pick up something, a cup discarded by someone busy, a soft careless word left by a friend, or a blade of grass growing through the leaves that the canopy has tossed down casually at my feet. At that moment of pause, I feel something. I am me in this place, wherever it is. And I think, this place is me and I am this place. And the desperate crowd around me is me and we all are we.

I change too in the walking. I’m not the same me today that I thought I was yesterday. The changes may be quite subtle, like an egg cooking in a skillet. It doesn’t turn white all of a sudden. It takes a few minutes, and while that may seem fast, it’s not, and yet you can see the clear parts turn white, hear the crackle in the pan, smell egg as it begins to lose its wateriness, and then it’s gone, eaten, absorbed into you. I’m that egg that once was in the shell, then the pan, and now is a part of you, inextricably. I am eaten. Gone, and yet, not.

All I’m saying is that yesterday I was a boy reading science fiction novels in a room in a roach-infested trailer in Las Vegas, hungry, small, scared, alone, brown, swallowing words one by one, learning to walk. I was no one really and everyone. No one knew me except the most important people in my life, the ones who made me and pushed me out into the world, and told me to walk, to go, to get out into the world and eat, thrive. And today, I’m none of those things, and they are no longer here and pushing, and yet I walk with those former me’s in my back pocket.

And from my walking, I still wonder: How do I walk and be here? How do I know and be known, eat and be eaten?