Tuesday, February 22, 2022

I Used to Think by Keith W Gorman

If I could start over. If I could only chisel away
the old clamshell layers of probability, losing
the hard, pearl-like casings—–the I told you so’s—–
I could then run naked on a freeway, expose
the succulent center and curse the stars with 
both bird-fingers careering skyward. But . . . I drank.
Today I dress in forty-five minutes, including
the squat on the porcelain chair. I pack a suitable 
lunch of tuna and crackers—–a few cheese chunks—–
and a Bosc pear. I scrape the car of its morning 
frost before driving twenty-five minutes to park 
in a lot with six hundred other cars, all financed
by six-hundred workmates who’ve all performed 
similar morning drills. In short-lived solitude,
I walk alone—–step by slow step—–crisscrossing 
the parked cars, recalling my father’s words as I roll 
thru the revolving door: The factory strums the edge 
of the world, but it’ll never kiss your ass. Now I’m 
slogging my way to the time clock, that foolproof
demon that trades free-range options for ten-hour
slots of pre-coded devotion. All in a netherworld
of clicks and clacks and horse-high dreams. Do it or die; 
the crewmates are counting on it—–the new car, too—–
and so is the bank. Today, I’ll be steering the ole 
forklift, side-saddling with the warehouse boys, 
trading jokes and morphing into a rhythmic machine:
the black fly feeding on the corporate pie. And if I 
could start over, if I could clear away the missteps, 
one by one, and never stand where I am standing now, 
I’d stomp in my old footprints and do it all the same.

Keith W Gorman is a poet, classical guitarist, and factory worker living near the foothills of The Great Smokey Mountain National Park in Eastern Tennessee. He is a scholarship recipient and graduate of The Sherwood Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois. In early March, he will be the featured poet of the week at Cajun Mutt Press. His poetry has appeared in The Rye Whiskey Review and Eunoia Review.

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