River [poem]

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People say you’ve never changed but you – you’ve always been a river,
Running slippery and shallow slick with salmon stick and sliver.
A river is a person – one who’s always in one place,
But whose aspiration is to make an ever changing face.

You see. You know.
Rivers never want to be rivers.
They want to be fish – to swim and to swish.
They want to find a groove and make their mark,
And become something that they never used to be.

And rivers aren’t happy with where they are.
Because where they are is a lie of the land-
A languorous sad sleepy trail with moss growing in their armpits.

I mean, rivers aren’t unhygienic.
They smell amazing.
They compose the everyday wonders of appearance and conversation like a romantic – well, a romantic composer. And I love that.
It’s a craft that settled in over mellennia of erosion.


Why is there always a “but”?
Why are rivers so nervous when they seem to know so much?
Why do rivers spread themselves thinner and thinner, devoted to everything?
If you love all do you love naught?
Are rivers not designed for a professional life?
Can a river ever fit the groove of another?

Maybe rivers are like flighty birds,
Darting from cherry to grape,
But so much more in decline than a Robin.

Even though a river stays pretty much where it is forever,
A river always feels like it’s sliding backwards,
Or driving with the brakes on,
Or running like an antelope with raised eyebrows on an accelerating treadmill.
Always in one place.

It’s because rivers look back forever,
At the receding mountaintop from which they saw,
A universe of frost and thaw,
And growth and life and millions more,
While down here there is less in store.
And seasons will turn, and rivers shall never run through all the old mills.
They shall never play amongst every delighted naked country holidaymaker.
No. They cannot be everywhere. They are not mountains.
They are not hills or continents or planets or Gods.
Rivers are holes through which water runs and children step with naked feet,
Screaming icily at every jagged pebble.

River – you can change and you will.
You’ll find something secure,
And when you do I wish you devote yourself as much to it,
As you do to all things in your frantic obsessional bid at mastery.
It’s not your fault you’re full of water,
It’s in your nature,
As it is in ours.
Seventy percent.
Seventy percent river.

Image Credit: freebigpictures.com

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