Poem: In Futures

If you believe, as I do, that a long life is but a string of moments . . . you may like this poem.

In Futures

This point of balance is not a broad concept of
a lifetime, or a piece to fit in the puzzle of my life
Not even a period of time within which some
semblance of order can or should be found
That’s the lie, the false excuse of wandering,
the rationalization for not being here

But here is where I am, sitting at this keyboard
and it all comes to this, if I have courage or,
not even courage, but honesty and if not that,
then a kind of recognition that this isn’t something
done before dinner and prior to the theatre,
but lived now

Now is what there is and I’ve written of it before
like a revelation and perhaps that’s true as well
For all these years it seemed a kind of journey,
All these activities, a step to somewhere and
it didn’t matter where so much, as long as
knowing now could be put off

And so of course, I put it off, this most intimate
look at who and what I am this very moment
There was room, there was time and no need
to end the sentence of my life, commas would do
Period.  Enough.  I stand back and look to see
this instant as a final photograph

If you read these words, that photograph remains
a still life of a man, this man at a keyboard,
my finger poised above a letter, choosing, deciding,
looking at who I’ve come to be
Not tomorrow and not later in the day, not a piece
but the whole puzzle, laid out in this moment

I find success in that and little but excuse in futures
that cause me to compare and let slide away,
the me that is, with the me that might be
An intellectual trick, the penalty that’s paid for this
developed brain that writes and thinks
Compares what is, with what could or still might be

You’ll never catch a wild thing doing that and never
find a squirrel who wishes to be a cat, or horses
damning the windswept rain against which they turn
their hunched quarters
It’s only me and you who think we’ve earned a fireplace
and hate the rain-cold moment, waiting for a bus

I haven’t licked it yet, but you need to know I’m trying
to put this love in some sort of order, this thrill of being
cold and broke and worried-over
To nod a bit in sunshine and not ruin it with clouds,
feel a shivered cold, study it and smile,
to make it mine, not thrown away in futures
Poetry Collection: The Smell of Tweed and Tobacco
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman's
poetry collection


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