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ever notice

by Devon E Mattys

Have you ever noticed
that trying something new
is like walking towards a streetlamp?
You never see your shadow
as you approach,
but only as you leave
do you find yourself again,
and you grow and grow
until you come to something new again
and you have to lose yourself to find yourself
and you can't just go on
having the same one experience--
you can't walk forever in the light of one lamp--
you must keep walking, keep finding
new lights, new experiences...
or else you lose yourself
to the darkness
that surrounds the spill of a lamp.

And sometimes loving
is like reading in the dark.
It's not something everyone does
or wants to do
or even thinks about doing:
it's something that when you first start,
you can't imagine why you're doing it
or how you can continue,
and it hurts and stings so badly you want to stop...
but if you just sit back,
let things adjust for a moment,
you can look down and suddenly see words.
And at first it hurts at times, yes,
but so does everything unnatural,
and after a while, though, it becomes easier...
you begin to read better
and soon you don't notice the pain.
Then, when someone turns on the light
to ask you what you're doing
sitting in the dark,
you look down at the page
and it's impossible
to comprehend the mess of lines crowding the leaf,
and, closing your book,
you suddenly wish for the dim light
that once bathed your page in amber. You murmur simply that you were resting,
and the light goes out again
and you sit in the cool for a moment,
and then you thumb through the dog-eared pages
to find your place and continue.

And people really are chipmunks,
as far as I'm concerned.
We all twitch and move
and miss beats
of daily life
like chipmunks darting to and fro,
like chipmunks swiveling their heads
so fast that we miss a beat
just watching them.
And one minute they're here and
the next minute, they're there
and no one ever sees them move
because they miss the beats
of the rest of the world,
madly hopping to and fro--
one minute they're uptown,
the next minute, they're downtown.
And we really are just chipmunks...
and isn't that a metaphor? You ask.
A metaphor for something great?
And golly, child, I don't know...
This time you've out-thunk me
and I just don't know what to say,
what to think.

It's easier to feign ignorance
than to take the time to think...
and so we're all just chipmunks,
reading the dark
until we come to the streetlamps
that hiss and whistle in the cold,
and the light spooks us so,
hurts our eyes,
and away we dart
missing beats, losing threads...
all too common in this world...
and so excuse me now...
there's some squirrel I must torment
across the field.
Give me a blink and I'll be there.


Posted on 11/04/2001
Copyright © 2021 Devon E Mattys

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