Jeff Hardin Another Day

Another day I’ve wasted,

though the sky has threatened rain

and cooled the afternoon

so that my sitting here, at least,

is somewhat bearable, a breeze to cool my neck.


Earlier, I was thinking I should choose

a couple of words

to serve as poles of my existence—

a dialectic, some would say—

and the tension generated between the words

might serve as my milieu,

a problem requiring a resolution.


Obsession, for instance, on one hand,

and obscurity on the other,

though understandably

how such an arrangement might benefit the world

I cannot rightly say.


Soon,

my mortgage will be paid in full,

which all along I’ve likened to a forest

at which I chopped with my machete,

cursing gnats, mosquitoes, and the unrelenting stifling humidity

in an effort to find a meadow

—ox-eyes and daisies and jasmine and lavender—

and to lie there on my back

staring at the bluest sky

in recorded history.


I’ve sat here

counting all the trees whose trunks

succumbed to creeping ivy,

and so far the count is ten.


Yesterday, sitting behind an SUV,

I read “MAKINIT,”

which is car-tag for

“I’m holding my own

though I’ve given up dreams of something more”


and so the driver

wants to share in angst-ridden solidarity

despite the cost of fuel

and ludicrous size of her behemoth

which she can barely squeeze into a parking space

at Wal-Mart,

or else she means “I’m raking it in in bucketfuls

so get the hell out of my way,”

which is short for

“in your face, loser.”


And I can’t stop thinking of the sleeping homeless woman

two teenagers

out for a good time

rolled into the river.

Neither jumped in once he realized

she couldn’t swim,

too much Darwin, I suppose,

or absentee fathers,

too many video games, too much high fructose corn syrup,

too little exercise,

whatever explanation does the trick.

Even so, the woman’s body is being searched for now—

hundreds of man-hours, boats, divers, sonar—

when only a week ago

she mostly didn’t exist.


What anything has to do

with anything else

gets harder and harder to piece together,

or maybe I’ve grown exhausted, or jaded,

or maybe

the logic of cause and effect no longer works,

or never worked.


I hope it finally rains and rains and rains tonight,

an answer to no one’s prayer or forecast,

something so torrential and scalding

that when we wake

not even the poets can make a metaphor of it,

for nothing will have changed

and no one be aware

the swallowing waves have come for us.


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