This far I have come with no name
Ann M. Fine
As if you didn’t know by now.
I will tell you what I cannot do; tell you now for later; now
being no time for mystics (and untrue).
I know if I go barefooted around here I will
unnecessarily praise my feet; the side(s)-walks
being conspicuously littered with so precious a glass.
Though I do not claim any of it is real or broken.
These days: I keep an eye out and my shoes on; expect
bad company; knowing one dares not invite the word
love over. Speaking of love;
I will tell you a tragic story.
A few decades ago; love survived
a textually transmitted disease and now
she secrets out her days rearing old fools
in a drug flooded tenement in Queens.
O sure, we worried about her.
Said to each other “too bad.” “too bad.”
Someone righteous once decided to call her father
for help; but candor is old and sick, smokes the nights
stoically hobbling back and forth; babbling
to himself in double doorframes; in what is now dubbed uptown.
Doesn’t know what to do anymore with all the incoming
“yes’s” and knows, he says, nothing about what’s next.
There’s another character.
Who asked that her name not be disclosed here.
A coal-eyed woman born in hiding, who
didn’t shock me when she said,
“so far I have been lucky and avoided God.”
It might have shocked me, but so far
she’s the only actress I’ve met around here
who has successfully befriended the others
without giving up the ghost.
Truth is she was exceptionally talented at going on
and on about nothing doing something; I didn’t understand.
I admired her for her brevity; and
she had these great big hands.
She didn’t even have to use them
thought she was smarter that her own loaned bones; said
she once took the subway to love’s apartment to check in
but in the end they both had it out. Said
she was frustrated about how love was
acting like love was
more than love was. I understood
from her telling of it; they were related
in a blood way.
Of course, being an actress
she also told me the dramatic story of her deal with the Devil;
with the mutual understanding that here it is
old hat to deal with the Devil:
“For example.” She said; the only secret around here is dead broke
and I quote, “no-one is very concerned about that.”
Makes my madness, paraphrased she, how
days pass and breath leaves and whudduh we get
in each breath’s place?
Immature dreams lulled by clocks.
Swore only the truly dumb (muted) would think
Job was available for comment after ours.
She meant the dumb or the likes of Job:
or the others, or like I, who could but will not
memorize that poetically disparate discourse with God
and the others; but read it every six months
to refresh my memory of who is in charge.
[the secret is at the end]
That actress had no idea I don’t memorize Job; never asked.
She said she left freedom for infamous; holy…I mean how
that actress waved! I thought I caught
a whiff of arctic fire after that wave; she still had
love’s last look burning her good eye.
Looking back; I don’t know why;
but this must have been my evidence that this is
no place for a mystic to be hanging around;
the actress certainly knew this; she must have.
She never pronounced her name but didn’t forget to swear
that she and love would never get on.
It took some effort cutting the tall grass that grew
around her trail of footprints later; I followed them
for awhile; imagining the future…
This is how far I have come and know no more.
Author Discusses Poems