In each poem, I must unfold myself to you,
unfold you to you -- all this folding and
unfolding! No wonder, Dear Reader,
that each year we are more deeply creased,
even our laughter inscribing us, for it, too,
is how we reveal or conceal ourselves.
Young faces hold no secrets, blank and unlined
(kept out of rough drafts),
instantly revealing every grief and joy,
retaining nothing of either an instant beyond
its outbreak, a sky swept by storm clouds
once again an unblotted baby blue. That's why
we speak of the child as "artless." What mystery
can there be? Is it a smile or gas pains?
(Riddle of the Sphinx or sphincter?)
Which spoonfuls will be swallowed, which
spat in all directions? By what miracle
does he learn our speech? What will he
become? How can he ever conceivably
become what we are?
How boring! The same old profundity;
the same old secret no one wants to know,
the old oracular shit! Must the answer
to every riddle be me, just me again,
is this all that poor baby has to look forward to --
me and you, our blank baby faces scribbled
all over with memos that remind us,
"YOU ARE HERE"?
Note: Or you WERE here.