Paulelmo's Blog

The Fit of Skin in the Present Day

This piece is about ten years old, but it still works well for me. Lots of pieces don’t make it three months before I find it hard to own them. I haven’t always dug this piece as much as I do these days. It helps that it’s Tricia’s favorite.

THE FIT OF SKIN IN THE PRESENT DAY

I.

Like the books on my shelves
that I’ve never read,
I feel loved, albeit useless.
Like the corpses that line
the cemetery, dead,
I feel like I’ve passed my purpose.
Not depressed in the least
and never bored
I feel something like listless,
as I sit at this desk looking for
meaning from the words,
which will break down
the walls of my numbness.

To locate origin,
this must the first step be;
what caused this effect,
this ennui?

Was it separation from God,
if only by rooms—
because even displeased,
His will in me moves.
Was it getting a foot
on the path of this life
and having to overcome
intimidation despite?
Was it the solitary way
that I laid down my head
when I went to
the pillow each night?

II.

The actions of the boy
from whom I borrowed this skin
sometimes haunt me in the now.
I want to cry out,
to say that I’m not him;
yes, but to prove it, how?
When I look like him
and talk like him
and smoke cigarettes
in the same odd ways.
How can the inhabitant
of this skin, in the present’s then
be different from the one
of the present day?

III.

I’ve taken this skin,
without question he gave,
and stretched it out of shape.
I’m well because I am
and I refuse to not be
now that I control my fate.
I’ve taken the mind,
which he used like a fool,
with all of the accompanying prides,
and I’ve filled it with
spirit and factual tools
with room to spare inside.
I’ve taken the soul,
most precious of all,
and headed it to the right,
conscious of action
and the moment’s toll
on the all of forever life.

So now it won’t fit
if he wants it back;
it will wrinkle
from gaps in the seams;
it will hang on him loose
and leave him looking unkempt—
he always hating such
as much as me.
And he’ll feel old and look old,
act old and grow old,
boyhood to grave with nothing between,
false youth to no youth,
learning not what I’ve learned
nor seeing what I’ve seen
So, though we may look
and talk the same
and hold our smokes in
the same odd ways,
there’s no way the kid
who wore this skin
could be the man
I am these days.

IV.

Thus, a culprit is found
in the midst of this lull,
a jealous boy who seeks return
of that which he can no longer hold
due to the lessons he never learned.
But from his desire I take aid
for the moment’s malaise,
and I see where to find my soul
when it’s gone away.
All I must do
is see its lack in the past
to realize its presence
in the present day.

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