Aug 172011

My troubles travel with me in my old grey-green duffel bag, emblazoned with a bold logo for “The Hunger Site,” where money goes golden into the mouths of starving orphans as you click their web ad. In my bag, no poems. A spare razor that tracks my face to redness like a tornado grinding through moldy Oklahoma soils; what frail flower will wind upward in the destruction’s wake? Out-dated maps of San Francisco crowd against an unbroken three-pack of new underwear (almost enough for the plotted duration), the maps folded and worn at the folds from disuse as they travel stuffed in my tight pockets; will they pinpoint my experience on a grid? My ecstasy, my despair? A toothbrush is here, screwed into a silver tube, one that only sees action in foreign air, drying by sinks from London to Maine. My rose-colored camera’s here, which I had solemnly promised myself to use for photos of faces, not things, during this trip to the buttery-sunny lands of California. I look up to my own face in the sparse living room’s nude mirror as the camera slides to the roomy couch, my bed for the night. In the mirror, all the old confusions arise, painted by pain on an aging canvas. If only I had a bag to carry my head around in, unseen until I really needed it!

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