Mark Jackley: Gathering Myself

tookerm —  May 18, 2012 — Leave a comment

Gathering Myself

I am trying to gather myself.
My self has other ideas.
I track it down in a diner
somewhere in Nebraska,
sipping trucker coffee,
unmarried and unemployed,
blissfully watching strangers
gathering themselves,
whether they know it or not.
Moments before, I found
my self on a bench outside
the Safeway in Seward, Alaska,
where with welfare mothers
and fishermen I smoked,
clipped my words and gazed
like a panting salmon
on the steaming shore.
Before, my self was watching,
from a respectful distance,
my daughter eulogize
at her father’s funeral.
I dragged my self away
to ponder how the Buddha
gathered himself. I know:
he sat until he melted
into the Indian jungles.
Speaking of jungles, my self
is now in my ex’s kitchen,
where after grilling me
in her Puerto Ricanese
for being an hour late,
she grills a steak and serves it
with the knife plunged in
upright. This gathering
is not like herding cats
but wrestling giant squids.
Some creatures are at ease
with multiplicity.
Ask Cousteau, they never
go down without a fight.


Mark Jackley
is a poet based in Sterling, Virginia.

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