Thursday, January 26, 2017


©  Steve King  2016
All rights reserved

You have never seemed at all like me.
I say this in being self-aware,
in knowing that my every sense
is numbed by your insurmountable smile.

I surmise this singular aspect of guile
—this something more and something less—
flows not from some redoubt of high conscience,
or a wry disregard of worldly things;
nor from a fancied pose of irony.
No, none of these, I think.

They would be apprehended in their doing.
Indeed, I have seen through from time to time
in all the usual small ways.
Yet still a smile remains unsatisfied.

Yes, I surmise,
for what more might this smile bring?
Everything is handy guesswork now,
known only in a retrospect
of all my favorite speculations,
and none of your own.

And what should your expression yield to me,
with its smile or no?
Some inconstant glance,
not even minding where it falls,
now here, now there,
now celebrating this,
now mourning that?
I will not be moved by this,
nor any other aspect of such art.
It seems the world reserves too much
for me to isolate to you
what might be merely shifts of mood
or other dark exchanges of my heart.

I see I stand upon some lesser hill,
just balanced on the smallest points of faith:
that I am,
that I must be,
that every moment is a struggle
for a realm of sovereignty;
that I manifest an essence
in a strange contingency of time and place
not even of my choosing,
often times unknowing and unknown.

And yet it seems I must remain,
if only to assure this place
and consecrate a time;
that I survey all objects of desire,
observing from this far remove,
inventing, even, what another
might then misconstrue;
alas, reflecting not always
a bit of what some other might require.

And it is hard to sense all this,
to know I won’t requite in full.
But in my station I am not alone.
Not insurmountable as you, perhaps.
Perhaps if I am patient to a fault.

You are a distant drumbeat now,
to measure out the crushing dark;
a tremor on the airs.
Where is the map
to thread a journey
through all obstacles,
to find where lies the mystery
of your confounding peace?
A peace that, for all I now know,
may not begin to merit
fair exchange of any heart.

A new poem for the dVerse Poet's Pub