I don’t say things I don’t want to say
or chew the fat with fat cats just because.

With favor-givers who want favors back,
I tend to pass on going for the ask.

I send, instead, a series of regrets,
slip the winding snares that people lay.

The unruffledness I feel as a result,
the lank repose, the psychic field of rye

swayed in wavy air, is my respite
among the shivaree of clanging egos

on the packed commuter train again tonight.
Sapping and demeaning—it takes a lot

to get from bed to work and back to bed.
I barely go an hour before I’m caught

wincing at the way that woman laughs
or he keeps clucking at his magazine.

And my annoyance fills me with annoyance.
It’s laziness that lets them seem unreal

—a radio with in-and-out reception
blaring like hell when it finally hits a station.

The song that’s on is not the one I’d hoped for,
so I wait distractedly for what comes next.

  • Source: Poetry (November 2010)

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