This poem is about dreams and the delusion in thinking that people who achieve great things do so because of hard work. War is hard work. Digging trenches is hard work. Coal mining is hard work. Motherhood is hard work. Everything else is not hard work. What we think is hard work is actually self-destruction. And it is in fact easy work, even at its worst.
Either that, or the poem is about a crush I had in seventh grade.
Sometimes I imagine
I’m someone else imagining
he’s someone else. I cling to dreams
even when they’re not my own,
because I am addicted
to wanting and not attaining,
and to that incipient joy
that feels like glass shattering inside
your chest, permitting cool outside air
and the smell of buck pine and pepper trees,
you were good to me.
Why did I abandon you?
Did I abandon you?
Are things that are not yours abandonable?
If so, I’d like to abandon now the things I do not have
yet. May I set fire to my future years? and the circumstances, which
await me as drowning awaits an armless man. Whoever you are
who I’m imagining someone else imagining to be
know that I have abandoned you without knowing
you and cast you off though I’ve never seen your face.
Tell me, if I knew you
would I love you, and if so, how? Is it worth it to imagine
things new? Or is it better to shut up and keep digging?
Written at 12:46 at night, in my office, in Agoura Hills CA, while procrastinating work on my thesis. I’m starting to suspect that all of academia is one big joke designed to see how many people fall for it.