I get as sick of my peculiar self
As any other body I can name
To self-companion such a prodigy
Of oddness, one must overcome much shame
In judging eyes sometime observers of:
‘Why does she dress/walk/look/talk/act like that?
Why is she smiling when we most are not?
Why does she wear a hood and not a hat?
A cloak and not a coat? And does she need
That stick she leans upon? We suspect not!
Why do the simplest inquiries of her
Produce so inconven’iently much thought?
Why looks she not a careful shoulder o’er
When sharing her opinion on the train?
Who’s she think she is, Florence Nightingale
Ministering to other people’s pain?…”
Once on a truly frigid wint’ry day
(Through which I went surpassing comf’tably)
A conservative individual
Paused in his steps to take a look at me
Inquired what I had dressed up as today:
A vampire? Witch? A Jedi or an elf?
And I could think of nothing better say
Than “Sir, you see me dressed up as myself
In a surround of people most concerned
With dressing up as closely as they can,
Without regard which way they truly would,
Identically to their fellow man
Thus voluntarily abdicating
Freedoms which nominally we possess
One of which be the way that we decide
It most convenient be for us to dress
And walk, and smile, and give opinion, same
In public as in private — or have we
Through general inertia already
Allowed those liberties no more to be?”
Ay, truly, it exhausting doth become
To pushing ever be against the grain
Awake amid the miserable numb
Sonambulating through dull daily pain
And limitation; held so tight unto
Each psychic bosom as it were a shield
Against sensitive storytellers who
Remind them of the powers Truth might yield
Sick I may be, and tired, too, that is true
Of walking in the ways we say we do
Yet when it comes those ways to manifest
Are most too cowardly manifest to
Sick on behalf of self, of friends and of
My would-be much more normal family
Were they not put constant contortions to
To make the slightest bit of sense of me
Until I stop this thought consider to:
I could indeed be any one of them
Moved by insensitivity to such
As I myself reflexively condemn!
Then pause for deeper thought, and ask again
Which of the two of us I’d rather be
Which of us channels starlight through her pen
Which of us in this world more beauty see?
And which experiences happiness
Unmeasured as it freely offered be?
It helps me to a little better feel
About, for this whole lifetime, being me
A poet is the strangest sort of soul
You in this life may e'er expect to meet
More broken even while more truly whole,
Innocently intending well, more sweet
Than any but a five year old should be
Unfit to meet a callused world's demand
Or to behave aught expediently
All grace in flight; an albatross on land
Do not the all too common error make
Do not fall into the too easy trap
Avoid the fatal egoic mistake
Imagining that poet be a sap
Powerful spirits classic and antique
Give voice when poets ope their mouths to speak