An Urgent Request
Hello and goodbye,
flour, vegetables, coffee
and orange juice.
A body, a soul, thoughts,
a moment of freedom.
Words. I am so jealous of your words.
I would like to buy some Polish grammar.
All of it.
I would like to buy a reusable bag
for the case endings.
Please segregate the genitive
from the dative well.
If war were to break out tomorrow
which of the neighbors would kill us?
How do they all know what to do?
How do my friends walk around
with all they know and feel?
Why won't they talk to each other?
It's just a question of words—
the wrong ones got delivered.
They don't fit.
We fear our words say
something about us
instead of using those damned words to speak.
We gravitate irresistibly
towards the passive.
I am furious.
Deliver those words please,
I cannot wait any longer.
I need not only the perfect
and imperfect verbs
and each separate verb-concept
but a precise dividing line
I know that will be more expensive.
I am prepared to pay postage.
Yes, the country I live in
It is called where-I-am-now
or, for short, my name.
It's even in Europe.
So, you see, it won't cost so much.
This document will most certainly
even be translated.
I know exactly where I am.
First you have to give me the words!
I’m leaning over the desk now
and my hair is falling over the forms
and I'm sweating.
Yes, I need prepositions too.
And the cases to which they attach.
I need those little joining wires.
Several thousand of them.
They'll be cheaper if I buy them
all at once.
I don't need poetry.
I already have a body.
Just give me the words.
* * * * *
my life is brilliant
No one I love
has died so far today.
Every single war in this world
has passed me by.
I am not starving and I haven’t stumbled
onto any terrorist’s map
or into anyone’s axis of evil
Nobody tortured me today.
No policeman shot me by accident or on purpose
No tidal wave swept my house away
I was not sentenced to death for infidelity,
or not having put enough salt in the soup.
* * * * *
It’s autumn, season of mooching poets, mellow
fruitfulness and death, of blazing lanterns
standing in the trees, of crunching dry gold
standing, of black skeletons poking through,
of apples, I want to straighten my spine,
eat gold leaves, rocket down
to earth scuttle across someone’s face, someone
lying naked in a field, sun bleeding through eyelids
thinking last time, defiant joy, I want to be it
and the wind that breaks up the block of blue
that fits over us today, the wind that makes
it’s sea sound in my hair the wind that rushes
over the flat stones at the door, the stones
from the riverbed, the wind that grasps
the leaves and flings them high and brightness
* * * * *
~ "An Urgent Request" originally appeared in The Pedestal; "my life is brilliant" and "Blaze" originally appeared in Other Voices. I am grateful to these fine magazine for the right to reprint the poems here.
Sarah is a psychotherapist. You can find her at her personal site, or at her online therapy site.