By Alen Hamza
Months pass and I don’t feel
twinges of jealousy toward those
who got there first with the great
idea. This happens when I’m not
reading much. Other times, delight
and deflation. Wouldn’t that be
a nice first line: “Delight and deflation
come at the same time.” I wonder
if it has already been exploited. I could search
with quotation marks. Or I could tell myself,
Don’t worry, go ahead and make it yours.
When we make something ours, the world
gets smaller. Pleasure, after all, buds
most abundantly in fenced gardens.
In youth I ran around lovers, lovers
who loved me, but never felt cemented
by love. It was a case of the eternal Monday:
time to kiss was time to go to work,
and the timing couldn’t have been worse—
the beginning of the labor week. Still,
labor I did. War made me learn
a new language. Hooked, I learned another.
In my pocket passports proliferated.
You could say alliteration no longer
pleases the way it once did, and that the latinate
proliferated grates. I myself have made similar
arguments. Interestingly, the upshot of thinking
self-consciously in feeling like a machine.
It is hard not to return to looking up as a way
to settle wondering. Of course, metaphor aside,
we don’t do much looking up. If we did,
we would know it’s the clouds that are fickle,
not the sun. That seems like a good stopping point,
yet it gives off a whiff of—smugness?
I cannot help what I feel any more than the sun
can help being there. I cannot help
being in love with Ruefle’s milkshake
and Koethe’s swimmer. It is risky to name poems
in a poem, yet if I failed to name, I wouldn’t be writing
in this moment, on this day, watching yellow
daffodils in the wind sway. And if I failed
to discover my clouds, the clouds
that don’t let me see my life as it really is,
I also failed to imperil the machinery.
Hurrah for the rain.