How are you doing?
“How are you doing?”
You try to get an answer from flaking walls
in whose falling chips of paint you read
auguries, from open books on your lap in whose
blurring lines you squint to see
a well-meaning omen. You see nothing.
When evening falls, you realize
a day has passed. The street offers
no revelations. Its lamps wake slowly
to pin your shadow behind you. The traffic
screams at you to stay away. The sidewalk
pushes your feet up, you find you must keep
walking. Store signs smile like uncles
who can’t quite remember your name but are glad
to see you any way. A tree throws a bat
into the sky, you do not lurk in its shade.
marvelous, she’s marvelous, we’re all marvelous!
You wonder what to make of that. Your face in the glass,
A scarred continent with its pockmarked plains,
its budding pimples like strip-mined barren hills,
its thin furrows like seething trenches waiting
To erupt in blood and pus. You feel the shape
Of a smile behind your lips. You say it aloud,
Marvelous! The world arranges itself around you.
Which is to say, everything stays the same.
[Read this at an open mic last week to...a mixed response. Here's to hoping it reads better in text.]