Poem at Twenty-Eight

Do you remember the feeling?
The intimate proximity between curiosity and wonder
Do you remember its shaping?
The fullness that circumnavigates its narrow depth

I dreamt it
Sought it
Lulled it
Desired consult

After 27 years full of depletion
Excavating for bones and remnants, a semblance of a life
I’ve perfected the aimless search and wander down to an art
A quiet, consuming desperation
That sought and seeks to reclaim
Fulfill the stillborn desires of a broken little boy
The little boy with sad eyes
The little boy always on the outside looking in
Invited, but never offered a seat–
Proper placement at the master’s table

I have reset
Like clockwork
And turned my/self inward

Traveling. I’m always traveling.

I remember as an adolescent
Journeying after-school on the 7 train
From Queens to the city
To my job as a library page
Stacking, shelving and organizing books upon books
Setting order to my world
Wondering what life as an adult would be like
Imagining the material things I would finally acquire
After a lifetime of have-nots
Gots-nots
Among infinite wants-lots

I would rip out sheets
From composition notebooks
And scribble on the back of used paper napkins and paper receipts
Anything I could get my hands on
This was real
This was learning
This was my education
This was the authoring of my own life

Then the letdown.

After having dedicated my life
To the service of others
Waiting for scraps of legitimacy and recognition
To fall from the master’s table
Enters
The shell-shock realization:
That the accumulation of degrees and accolades
Does not necessarily guarantee one’s own personal freedom
Proprietorship over one’s thinking
Possession of one’s own self
Enters
The startling revelation
That that broken little boy can no longer be rescued
That that tired life must be shed
Like old skin, husk and all
He–you–we
Deserve so much more.

Therein lays the work.

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