Friday, September 1, 2017


I've always chased the story--chased the girl--
The tale that makes my life a book worth reading.
I put words into my heart's mouth, then hurl
Myself after whatever is misleading.
When I hear music, I reach for a dancer
Because I want her to sit on my lap.
I lose my doubts in someone else's answer.
I find myself on someone else's map.

I translate life into my dictionary
And look for meanings that tell me I'm safe.
I only scratch the itch that's momentary.
I cling to pleasures that will make me chafe.
I doubt the instincts I should always trust
And trust what tells me "You don't need to grow."
When someone asks a favor, I hear "must."
When love says "Yes," the fool in me says "No."

My principles give up without a fight
When pleasing someone else makes me feel smart.
I look for wrongs that nothing can make right
And colanders in which to pour my heart.
I suck up to the cool kids so they'll say
"You're one of us!" But every one of them
Treats friendship like a mirror, and will play
"You're So Lame" to whoever they condemn.

The drink I drink is tasteless, till I cut
My tongue out and let it tell me its flavor.
The things I feel are all echoes of what
I don't feel anymore, and so I savor
Each one--not for its body; for its ghost--
And judge a joy by how long it will last
And entertain success so I can boast,
And live not for the future, but the past.

Between them both,  the present whizzes by.
It slips through my life's fingers when I grab it.
It's here and then it's gone, unlike a lie.
It's dead already by the time I stab it.
How strange that what can frustrate, and fulfill,
And stir me up, is what I cannot touch--
Moving through me when I am standing still;
Sharing my life, but never going dutch.

Weighed down by all the stuff I hate to carry
And am afraid to drop--because I don't
Know who I am unless my burdens marry
My onerous desires--I say I won't
Let this moment pass by. But all that weight--
The past; my fears; the weariness I bring
To what should be exciting--tells me straight:
I must give up the stuff to find the thing.

All it takes, when the world is dull, and full
Of books that I don't want to feel like reading
Or things that I don't care for, is to pull
My self out of myself, and then start feeding
The hunger in me, not the appetite.
And when I do, the right meal will be there.
It won't be on the menu, but each bite
Will be the answer to a tongueless prayer.

All it takes to move forward is a shift
From what I see to what is really there:
The possibility that is a gift;
The quickstep I can dance without a care.
It's all call and response, if I just keep
Myself tuned to the song my life is playing.
It's all a moment's move, and it will sweep
Me up with it,  like faith does after praying--

For getting what I want is guaranteed
If I let go of what I do not need.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

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