Sunday, July 6, 2008

Poem: "Dear Magnifying Glass"

Dear Magnifying Glass,
It's been a while since we last talked
and I feel like I owe you an update:

There've been a lot of changes since the last time you saw me,
but that isn't to say that everything's different.
Some things are the way they were before.

For example, If you were to look under my bed you'd find that
I've still got a pair of size twelve shoes tucked beneath the frame.
You remember the joke my parents used to tell,
how they thought my shoe size and my age would
stay the same forever. You laughed every time, but that joke
stopped working when I turned thirteen and my feet stayed size 12.
My parents will still tell it if you give them the chance.

Part of the difference is that I'm finally growing into my feet,
I'm starting to figure out the breadth of my shoulders
and the span of my reach. I'm almost a human being now.
My spine is still wrapped with piano wire that keeps me
rigid upright, but it's slowly loosening.

Iambic chest pump beating
per-fect myself
per-fection I must become
per-fect I must make myself

but it doesn't beat loud like it used to
and I have you to thank, Magnifying Glass,
for showing me how to look for my redeeming features
and now the list of my personal failings I keep hidden
beneath my mattress is a lot shorter than it used to be.

I've become more honest, too, than you might remember
And I don't hate myself as much.

Along with my good, you taught me to look for God,
Magnifying Glass, and I built my vertebrae like the
Tower of Babel every night, I wanted nothing more than
to see the face of God, and yeah, I read my Bible, I knew
no one survives something like that but it was all I could do
to escape the crushing weight of my own inadequacies
written all around the inside of my skull.

I don't pray anymore for death.
I barely pray at all, but when I do, it's for peace.

There's an opera-house in your eyes, Magnifying Glass,
but I haven't heard divine since the last time I heard you sing.
It's not that I've stopped listening; my ears are still open.
I just don't try as hard to hear what I can't.

I spend my time instead unwrapping the piano wire around
my spine that keeps me rigid upright. I'm learning flexibility.
And I don't stack my vertebrae like the Tower of Babel anymore,
I don't measure myself by how close I am to reaching heaven.

I'd rather measuring myself along the curve of your spine, but
Magnifying Glass, we speak different languages now,
so what's the use?

I've got a 4 AM bottle of whiskey that says “I still love you”
but I'm not much into liquid courage these days
I'd prefer the real thing,
Iambic heart-pump beating soft