Only This, Just In

Only This, Just In

I once positioned my outpost on earth –
at the time, within earshot of owls
and a lake’s short waves –
to be the center of all communication
beaming in from everywhere, out
to all the warped, rounded corners
of this universe. I was hoping
to fool that alien sense
I imagined as native to many,
that I was actually practically cut off
from the prime gist of being alive.
So, rather than scanning for more
koans-on-transcendence or
a how-to to convince the chipmunk
standing in for my mind
that this felt insignificance
was insignificant, thereby
skirting the issue that acted
as my Everest – because
it was there, it was always there!
I pitched a little white tent in a holler,
with vents in the canvas to let in, let out
my antennae, the requisite wires,
and the million telekinetic messages
I’d be managing by the minute,
like some ancient eighty-armed operator
devotedly plugging in, plugging out,
the supple joint articulating a life to life.
And when all systems were finally go,
and after I flicked the little switch (a
Venetian-like light flooding the moon
of my face), the first words in were
wind, and how old leaves left alone
will crackle for no particular reason.
Then the slow creaking of tall beeches,
followed by a pulsing, silent swooshing
as if I were holding my own personal shell
to my own individual ear,
which, naturally,
as was my custom,
I was.

D. R. James’s latest of ten collections are Mobius Trip and Flip Requiem (Dos Madres Press, 2021, 2020); his micro-chapbook All Her Jazz is free, fun, and printable-for-folding at Origami Poems Project; and individual poems have appeared in a wide variety of anthologies and journals. He lives in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan.

[image: Camping under the stars | Joseph Starbuck]

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