Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Itinerary

This is a poem I wrote based off of the form of "My Paris" by Ted Hughes.

My itinerary
Is printed out and ready.
My plane is waiting on the runway, restless and roaring,
Impatient for departure. It obeys a schedule.
One I must return to. And I will.
It sounds heartless, but I will.
Am I so unhappy here? The red roads, linking my worlds,
Meandering, running nameless like soft rivers under my feet
(The ones so very tired of concrete,
Asphalt freeways and paved sideways)
That rusty path. It has
No set “this way,” and won’t tell if you step off
Every so often.

Besides, the people, places and the sea of faces are
Waiting. The ones who will save me from
My poisonous laurel wanderings.
My lotus eaters- My sirens
That threaten to steal me away for good. My envisioned life
Is not so plotted as my to-do lists,
My class and bus schedules. Those have to be that way,
They do not know the difference.
And if they could fly away to strange and distant lands
Maybe they too would not march to the mechanical clock.

I can run and run. I have not yet discovered
That calendar branded to my nomadic
Feet. Never tried
To look down or learn to dance with that beast
My ball and chain!
I never knew how complicated home could be.
Never knew it could be an in-between.
A state of mind. A no place.
So of course I ran
As if training for some eternal marathon
In someone else’s schedule—one I have tried to swallow.
I’ve been there, putting on the same coat
And hat, shutting out winter
Only to trap in my chronic cold condition
That sleeps beneath my weathered date book
Rooting itself, like a cork screw,
Collecting the weight of 9-5
Piercing the subconscious of my life.

So do not suppose that I care that the roads are a little bumpy here,
That the crinkled tin shacks are displeasing to me
Lining dusty hungry roads, red rivulets, untamed in their riverbeds-
Their rocky ways that taxi’s and buses could never make way,
Railed on their schedules, to-do lists,
And the road will laugh, make them abandon

Their cozy lightless spaces, make them saunter along the path,
Teach them to trust their feet by making them trip
On their expectations and concrete plans
As if we could make plans-
To endure life, (until retirement) or live forever.
To establish trust funds that we’ll never spend.
Do good for the sake of a grad school resume,
And die hunting for something that rhymes
With our social security numbers.

Yes I will board that eager plane
And transition in the turbulence, into my other life
My self the sea of faces knows me as,
A girl too young to settle down,
Too old for these dangerous dreams
That lure me away across black seas, shivering
When life threatens to turn into another winter
Where it stings to be outside and my feet grow stiff,
Frozen in the freshly plowed roads.

But my feet won’t forget. Wherever they go
These meandering roads, invisible on Google maps,
Winter by winter
They’ll wait for my next plane ticket,
So tired of living
Like a social security number.


1 comment:

  1. I love this! I'm about to leave on my own field study to South Africa (if you want to see what I'm doing I'll be recording it all on my blog, Did you get the polychronic/monochronic time lesson in the prep course? This makes me think of that, and how obsessed we are with our schedules and plans, so there's so much less space for spontaneous life. It must be so different to experience polychronic time for a while. Has it been hard transitioning back to "normal" life? Also, I was wondering if you had any advice for me as I'm leaving the US?