It makes me wonder,
getting down on myself as I usually do,
that maybe I’m not the pain in the butt
I sometimes think I am.
I used to party a lot, but now I study landscapes and wonder a lot,
listen to people and wonder a lot,
take a sip of good wine and wonder more,
until my wondering has filled five or six years
and literary critics and fans
and fellow writers ask
why haven’t you written anything in six years?
And I wonder about that—
I don’t reveal to them
that I have boxes of unpublished poems and that I rise at six-thirty each morning
and read books, jot down notes,
compose a poem,
throwing what I’ve written or wondered
on notepads in a stack in a box
in a closet.
Filled with wonder at the life I’m living,
distracted by presidential impeachment hearings
and dick-sucking interns and Iraq bombings,
my attention is caught by the kid
without a T-shirt in winter
on the courts who can shoot threes and never miss,
by a woman who called me the other night
threatening to cut her wrists because she was in love
and didn’t want to be in love,
by the crackhead collecting cans at dawn along the freeway.
Sore-hearted at the end of each day,
wondering how to pay bills,
thinking how I’ll write a poem
to orphans for Christmas
and tell them that’s their present
and watch them screw up their faces—
wondering what kind of wondering fool
that even during Christmas I’m wondering …
caught in the magical wonder
of angels on Christmas trees
colored lightbulbs all of it making me remember the awe and innocence
of my own childhood,
when Santa came with a red bag
to the orphanage
and gave us stockings
bulging with fruit and nuts.
It was a time of innocence, gods walking around my bunk
divine guardians whispering at my ear
how they’d take care of me—
and they did. armies of angels have attended me
in rebellious travels,
and the only thing that’s changed since then
is instead of me waiting for Santa,
I’m like an ornery pit bull leashed to a neck chain
aching to bite the ass of an 1RS agent
wondering why anyone in their right mind would,
with only one life to live, have a job making people so miserable.
It’s something to wonder about.