An exile in my own land
Squatter in my own skin.
Looked for myself
In all the right and usual places;
No settling of the stirred-up water
Only walls to bounce off.
So I wander.
The road and hills
Forests, fields, sky
Wrap me in themselves.
Free of numbers, name or country.
At home when I am nowhere
Defined by what I’m not.
Remembering Peter Fonda, 1940-2019
I’m neither worm nor tiger; neither flesh nor fowl.
Not wholly cheese or purely chalk. I’m neither lark nor owl.
Not Mozart or Metallica. Don’t see in black or white.
I’m neither here nor there. Not quite in darkness, or the light.
I’m neither straight nor crooked. Not commonplace or rare.
Not hunting with the eager hounds, or running with the hare.
Coming or going – who can say? Do I push or pull?
Charged positive or negative? Half empty, or half full?
Not Lance or Bradley, Maître Jacques or Raymond Poulidor.
Not maillot jaune or lanterne rouge. No less, and nothing more.
I’ve lost myself. I don’t know where I am, or where I’ve been.
I’m north-north-west and south-south-east and all points in between.
One moment following my nose, the next chasing my tail.
I’m EasyJet and Concorde, Deutsche Bahn and British Rail.
All hearing without listening. All looking without seeing.
Whatever gets me through the day. Just doing. Never being.
What I tell myself was
The real me
Stood up once
And walked from the corral,
– boots dust-dulled, gloves stuffed
in his faded jeans’ back pocket –
Without a care in the world,
Touched his hat
To the old man on the porch,
Smiled at some secret
Held then and now forgotten
And was never seen again.
I wrote this poem back in 2008, in the midst of one of my regular identity crises. My last post, and the wonderful poem David shared with us today, prompted me to exhume it and publish it for the first time. I guess we’re all in search of the elusive ‘real me’ – after three more years’ writing, I feel I have a slightly clearer idea now. Can’t rule out the occasional wobble, though.