Posts Tagged ‘box’

I Want a Lot

You love most of all those who need you
as they need a crowbar or a hoe.

     —Rainer Maria Rilke, “You See, I Want a Lot,” trans. Robert Bly

Rilke, you were right.

I want so much to be useful.

Today I stared at the brown cardboard box

on the counter and marveled

at how a box knows exactly what it’s here to do—

it holds what needs to be held,

it keeps things together,

it helps things move where they need to go.

It is a fort for a child or a bed for a cat

or a makeshift sled in winter.

I hazard to say the box never worries

if it is enough. It simply folds up

when its task is done and waits to be of use again.

Or not. Oh, this longing to do more, to be more,

to serve more, because in every direction,

the need is so great. Oh, this fear

that no matter how much I do, it is never enough.

A man is not a crowbar, a hoe.

A woman is not a box,

but oh for a moment to be able

to keep things together.

I know it’s not how it works,

but oh, for a moment,

to hold all that needs to be held.

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after looking long at Joseph Cornell’s Untitled assemblage (“The Hotel Eden”)

take the center
out of the spiral, it is
still a spiral


this list
of things to do—
not one word legible


after you set me free
holding my own leash
between my teeth


directions to Eden—
! but the starting point
has been rubbed away


inside a world
another world with another
world inside


waiting for the world to tip,
this motionless yellow ball


what if the frame
just fell off, how might we
see each other then


a jar full of unidentified things—
shall we open it?


so may places for the eye to land
so many places to gather dust
so little impulse to dust them


where would we be
without the diagonal—
one boring box after another


it will never fly away,
this green bird, still watching
the spring that will never
be sprung


perhaps this bird knows
what I have been trying to learn
there is nowhere
but here
to arrive

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