In The Company of Strangers 

In The Company of Strangers 

after two minutes

I knew this conversation

wasn’t going anywhere

it had started off so promising 

with an ‘I can’t wait to meet you

I’ve heard so much about you’

 

so we meet

we start to talk

and after a minute 

their eyes look around

at others

for others

for escape

 

we nod at the right times

chuckle at the right times

but aren’t looking at each other

eyes rove over one another’s shoulders

looking for some someone better

 

our attention intention

we showed in each other 

abruptly comprised

by the alluring promise

of others around us

of faces and smiles

of someone else to talk to

all of them is at least as interesting

all of who would only hold

our eager attention for a moment

because like the one 

who was so eager to meet them

our eyes would be darting

looking someone else

with bigger promise

bigger reputation

to be seen talking too

to be seen walking away from

to a better opportunity

 

because there is always a better opportunity

even when the one

in front of you is good enough

This ‘attention intention’ has happened to me so many times I’ve stopped bothering to make conversation at things like readings, workshops, book signings, people’s parties (even my own.) People want to be seen talking but rarely want to be seen listening 🙂 I have mastered the nod, frown, chuckle responses to the point where, much like them, I’m not fully listening as their eyes dart around the room for the person they were really waiting for.

Or if they aren’t placing around the room hey are glancing at their smart phone, or stopping in the middle of a chuckle to check their smart phone. The news feed from people not in the room being more commanding than the people foolish enough to be in the room. Or maybe they are texting or receiving  nods to someone else already in the room.

Occasionally someone does engage me in a ‘real’ conversation that starts with asking about me then quickly becomes them talking about themselves. I never discourage them. I know how to say things like ‘great’ or ‘that must be very stressful’ ‘tell me more.’ Which gives each of us a chance to glance over each other’s shoulder.

 

I no longer take such social interactions seriously or personally. At one time I did get miffed when eye contact couldn’t be maintained longer than it took to recognize each other. When someone say’s ‘it’s been great talking to you’ I know it really means the view over my shoulder was good. 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

None For The Road

None For The Road

if you won’t trust

someone who won’t drink

with you

then you’ll never trust me

if all your close friends

smoke up with you

we’ll never be close friends

if you only respect 

someone who’ll do a line with you

shoot up with you

share a bowl with you

then I have no role in your life 

we’ll never bond

 

if only self-destructive writers

are real writers

then I’ll always be a fake

a wanna-be

who really doesn’t warrant

your attention

 

I’m just one of those shallow dilettantes

a hanger on

without the guts

the stamina

to deal with life through

a haze of booze drugs

 

you are clearly better off with me

so don’t take it personally

when I decline to indulge

for the sake of group acceptance

I’d rather be unacceptable

than drown in conformity


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

Feeling Fine

Feeling Fine

I’m feeling fine

no – I am fine

feel is a word of uncertainty

because feelings can be deceiving

feels like winter

doesn’t mean it is winter

I am fine

I am well

 

no – I don’t need to take another dose

not even one

just in case

perhaps I’m not as well

as I think I am

 

think

another word of uncertainty 

doubt

it’s as if what I think

maybe wrong

that the perspective I filter

things through

can be questioned

think isn’t the same as know

I think it’s raining

it feels like rain

either it’s rain or it isn’t

thinking won’t change that

 

I think I feel better

 

I’m better off when I don’t think

when I am in the moment

I am well

better gives a sense 

that once upon a time I wasn’t well

that I wasn’t living in the moment

because 

at this moment in time

I’m as well as I can be

This piece is a word game. When I edit one of the things I do is make things more concrete by eliminating distancing words like ‘think’ ‘feel.’ ‘John felt angry” isn’t as direct as ‘John was angry.’ Not that I don’t appreciate the passive voice at times but I prefer the more active and direct. Words like ‘think’ ‘feel’ become contagious & to me, reflect lazy writing. The word ‘like’ is another one of those words 🙂

In live in a culture in which feelings become immobile facts in our minds, facts which are often not supported by circumstances. There’s a tree on our street. Large, & to me beautiful; to one of our neighbours it is a menace ready to drop a branch in the next windstorm. Regardless of our ‘feelings’ the tree is still the tree. Perspective.

There’s also an echo of people not accepting ‘fine’ as an adequate response to how things are. It’s as if to feel fine one is either in denial or perhaps too shallow for a ‘deeper’ emotional experience to life. If one is upset or conflicted or experiencing difficulty one is real, if not one is fake. Negative is real, positive is delusional. “Perhaps I’m not as well as I think I am.”

Another echo is that when people ask ‘how are you doing’ it is out of rote not out of interest. They don’t want an answer, or if they want an answer its only until they can jump in with their own litany complaint. Most people start conversations to tell you what they think not to hear what you think. I rarely start conversations 🙂 And, you know, I’m fine with that.


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet