The rude, crude person who grates on your nerves, and who, perhaps, has even entered your family circle like a bull in a china shop — what are you to make of him? How are you to survive the onslaught of his ignorant, opinionated noise, and the upheaval he brings to your digestion? You cannot avoid him, and you certainly cannot change him, nor would you try. You take a deep breath, you smile, and in amazement you listen to him talk, although he does not listen to himself, or to any of your replies. It is not really a conversation. A conversation requires at least two active participants, and participation is impossible where one or the other does not listen. Where there is listening, a conversation can thrive even in the absence of words. And so as the hours pass and the volume increases, your muscles tighten, or your head begins to hurt, or your stomach becomes tense and upset. It is as physical a phenomenon as being exposed to a mild poison or the improper food. But social etiquette prevents you from leaving the room. A trip to the bathroom is permitted, of course, or a polite interval spent rinsing dishes at the kitchen sink. And yet from those short distances, the noise can still be heard, and the very air is foul with stupidity. You dry your hands, and slide open the window to admit the cold night air. You look out at the shadows and imagine yourself a drop of rain. You have just landed on the leaf of a fern, or a rose, or a blade of grass. You are an ounce of starlight. The space between two thoughts. You are everything you have always been, and more. And you are so because he is so, in a way so profound you are each other. Then there is calm.
As Much Love
As much love
as a leaf
to the rain
Recently Banned Literature, February 16, 2014
Twelve Poems, Poets International