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LIVING MY GAP YEAR

Song of Myself

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Inspired By Walt Whitman

October 15, 2015

1.

I live an inch of every life I read,

"I am large, I contain multitudes..."

Darcy, Dracula, Gatsby, Huck,

call, cackle, whine, halloo!

We mash the dune grass and swarm the wharf,

beg loyalty of modern intelligence.

The space between words I read shrinks

like a Raisin in the Sun until it is as minute in size                    

as a synaptic gap in my brain tissue. 

 

2.

I am not so honorable 

as I am imitative of the honorable

I am not so foolhardy

as I am foolish

I am not so creative 

as meditative

I am not so humble

as I am self doubting

I am not so Pure

as I am naive

I am not so beautiful

as sporadically  lucky

I am not so righteous

as I am idealistic 

I am not so ambitious

as I am dreamy

I am not so asleep

as I am waiting. 

 

3.

I have been known to admire, with head thrown back                                                                      

the circles and eddies of two red-tails on the wind, cocking heads and shifting tail-feathers,

until they passed from my patch of sky.

There are no remote shrines more meaningful than the near.

Search no farther than this back yard. Stop here,

passing out of the house on a mindless errand, car-keys in hand and eyes on the ground, and

enjoy the "spear of summer grass," relish the cant of the sun

on the plastic lawn-chair, the bark of the plane maple,

the sodden mound of mulch intended for last year's garden bed.

To know the beauty around you, to recognize and love it,

is more large than knowing the joys of all the foreign climes.

In this yard, among the droop'd browns and droning leaf-blowers,

I have been far more wont to sigh "Life is good," than most anything else.

 

4.

Rome, I besiege you.

I cut off your supplies,

I starve you,

I invade you, for the first time in eight hundred years,

I plunder you,

I rape you,

I steal you,

I loot you,

I die shortly after.

I am Alaric the Goth.

 

5.

I was the type of child prone to chronic ailments. I was the Beth of Little Women.

A March arrival, I am a lukewarm person.

I am tall, yet not too tall; I lack grace, yet I am not entirely ungraceful.

I gangle with the self-conscious majesty of the moose,

I perch with the regalness of a woodchuck on his haunches.

I have viewed myself a word collector, I have viewed myself a thought thinker, but I am neither.

I am an observer and a journalist,  a scholar of the beautiful!

Morning is when I awake smiling, white light in my window, white quilt on my bed,

my skin smelling so softly of roses, my hair of hazelnut, my breath of garden clay.

Night is when I sleep. Seep is scant- ration, ration!

Routine is when I emerge from sleep in a grog, the bathroom sink is white,

the lightbulb I dress by is white, my nose is stuffy and I know no scent.

Routine is when I lie wretchedly awake, when insomnia infiltrates my every frosty vein,

presses up against the nape of my neck, sits atop me, sags, and smothers.

One hour, two hours, three hours, four.

My odious guest foists his presence upon me far longer than I can bear.

 

6.

I know the pines and steeples of Norfolk, Connecticut.

I know the hills, the drab corner stores, the churches,

neglected turnpikes, homely farm stands, shabby antique shops.

I know Norfolk's Yale Music Academy and sloping, graceful lawn.

I know Norfolk's slums, Indian drugstores, I have seen Norfolk's New Bedford.

I know the curves of Lake Doolittle's shores.

I know the docks, the boat sheds, the moss humps.

I know the loos'd pine needles, the lichen on the rocks, the still inlets

peppered with Jesus bugs, and all these familiar to me like my body,

all these the parts and the whole of my body.

The lake in the morning is breathless and glassy, disturbed only by

my kayak's prow and paddle. The sun still shines on a foreign land

and mist clings to the surface like foam. Doolittle is yet sleeping,

Doolittle is yet silent. It dreams in its ancientbed of mud.

What is the word for where the water meets Zuzu?

 

7.

What matters chronology? What difference makes it in the end

when all are dead and the unburied friend

alone is left to sing our praises?

In the dusty, moonlit phases

of Time's unfaithful, shriveled bower,

set with roses, where ashes shower,

there we sleep, Time all forgotten.

And there we rest, unsung and rotten.

 

8.

Misty elfin lake blusters silver around my face.

Its green essence nudges against my buoyant palms. I stroke, splash,

and the word for where the water meets me is Freedom!

I'm belly-up beneath the clouds, I'm scissoring myself into the watery chasm

and pausing to survey a pale quivering arm in the shafts of sun

that dare infiltrate these depths.

Bubbles squeeze out of my nostrils

and wobble past my ears. My ears fill with lake

when I resurface to breathe, and a new generation of water

slides back out over my lobes, tinted of me.

The lake and the sky are master and dame,

and I wear them in a gleam on my pupil.

 

9.

Make me Rasputin's daughter, that I may engorge myself on the mysteries of true sight! 

To intuit a being is to see clearly the brilliant aura

of gilded tendrils and radiant yellow whorls

around a winter-time tree, whose boughs are crook'd,

whose bark is chilled, whose veins are stilled, 

but whose plant-pith radiates flourish and gleam from the depths of its frigid root bulb. 

 

10.

Thou shalt not inherit attitudes.

Thou shalt not let your mother train you

to discard a hunk of cheese that she deems old

if you know it to be fine.

Be a listener to the inkling of your soul.

Be frugal.

Be prudent.

Be withdrawn,

And prosaic,

Be a bubble in mud.

Be the blissful poet, who thinks smilingly on his birth,

and hammers out a verse.

Be the grace note at the start of a bar.

Be the redder humor,

the ruddiness of the earth.

Be the brown of leaf crunch,

the sheen of wheat ear,

the satin chestnut shell,

Be the wiry ivy.

All these am I,

and I say to you,

I am good.