I can trace your movements in this vacant room by the paper cups
propped about, your quiet surveillance of the street below
your shiftings through growing paper mounds and later
or perhaps sooner you were at your desk where confusion and method
compete with equal energy while whole conversations gathered and scaffold
the air and you reminded me of Steppenwolf though I read it
so long ago that I’m not sure why.
I met my friend’s older brother when he just finished college and was moving
up to politics in Belfast. So long ago. He smiled like you and gave me
Herman Hesse, the I Ching, Gurdjieff, and one I’ve never found again
about such longing and all that hinders it
may also foster it and they say you know a man by his interests.
These long days I think a lot.
I try to figure out why systems stay in place with no underlying
logic and how the answer’s always ‘well it’s always been that way’
and the way people rarely move beyond what suits them at the time
and how principles are pliable and external and it’s hard to make any sense
and all these senseless, aimless commentaries chatter through our minds
neither following a single line of inquiry to its conclusion, nor imagining new ones
and I Ching’s, Gurdjieff’s and God can’t help us.
But the cold glass panels of your window press like a balm against my face
in your empty room high above the streets as if life needed a cooling
and could afford me quiet against the temperature
of so many thoughts at once because these days clarity only transpires,
takes shape, becomes visible in the air of our conversations
and I know myself through them as if I could only know myself