I Can't Get Started
D. A. Powell
I made a playlist of songs I’d heard in Heaven
mostly to procrastinate the letters of rec due soon
the notes to thank Saeed and Deborah an intro
to a talk the announcement of the talk and a talk
itself though not the talk I’m talking about a
different talk. Homeless is the heart, I’d call it.
The talk I’ve yet to write and yet to talk.
Uncertain is the mind. I remember a time I had
no desk to clutter, no meals and no regular address.
Just the crushed can car I slept in. A town so small
a wind had nothing to scatter when it blew through.
I parked myself on the farthest side of the levee,
away from homes and watched the river riffle
slowly over cowbelly silt. Listened for scaups
or cops on patrol. The music of Heaven so far
away. The sounds of earth are hard to find and
harder still to catalog. A hard field amplifies each
hornet. A woman I knew not well but well enough
she considered me a last resort, someone to escort
her to a movie down in Sac. I had no cents even.
Scraped the last of it out of the glovebox to buy
cigarettes. So I declined. And every whisper being
overheard, in turn another woman asked how come
I’d turned the first one down. Then gave me a ten.
Oh, but I can’t, I said, I can’t pay this back, I have
no job and don’t know when…but don’t you under
stand, she said, when someone just wants to give.
She gave me such a look. And a stick of gum.
This is the thank you note I haven’t written.
This is the talk I have yet to give some future
me, a scattered kid. I’ll name it after a song by Diz.