Glenn Ingersoll

100 Lines

I drew him in, drawing what he wanted to be.

Even erased his figure could be traced before white sky.

I stood up for myself, somewhere past the starting square.

Everybody spoke too forthrightly to stand out from the crowd.

He was waiting, so obviously he was hoping to wait.
The bench waits for waiting, the bus having stopped waiting.

There is one sun. Is there a second? There isn’t.

The sun can never see shadow, nor shadow a sun.

You can never see yourself, yet you look and look.

You are not yourself, you realize, except without his help.

If the world won’t turn, a ball will never roll.

Space bends around the world and whorls off in eddies.

The man on the penny again looks away from me.

Where did I lose the last dime? Among the diamonds?

Torn in two, the dollar is one dollar. One dollar.

What happened to my change? It never came, I know.

No change? The dime can’t change. Or the penny either!
There’s nothing left. There’s nothing right. Neither good nor evil.

Dollar per foot? Let’s have one for a good hand!
The frayed wallet, warm as ass, and richer than new.

Hard to love? You need a heart a touch softer. 

He never loved you. He never loved your ordinary eye.

My love was a totem pole in fog, in rain.

The tree fell in the forest on its painted face.

In the head under the hat waits another man’s hate.

It was so hot, the rain gave up its powers.

It was that close, finger touching the sky’s white skin.

Look through zero to the sun. Cover it with one.

Listen to the position of the gun. It is loaded.

Listen: ring pushing a ring off ring toward ring returning.

No two raindrops are exactly the same. No two tears.

You lost a raindrop in the lake? I’ll get it!

I found the lost raindrop, lonesome on a lily pad.

I lost myself in another self. Find it for me?

There it is, the necessary thing, all others fully optional.

With no one in the room I left the room.

Dry all year, except yesterday. Yesterday it was clear.

Nowhere a puddle, but here and there a cool stone.

I threw a big stone into the river – buh DOOP!

What disappears leaves a splash the river carries quickly away.
An apple, an orange, a persimmon softening, one fuzzy kiwi.
Robe in tatters, the orange dressed only in white lace.

One leaf, red, supple, on those all brittle and brown.

Against a black stone, creek water presses the rose petal.

In the day’s golden late light, my shadow stands perfected.

All up the dead tree, a nodding of green ivy.

He looks up, but the moon will not look down. 

Every snowflake is very much a snowflake-like snowflake, here, there.  

Out of nothing and back into nothing – the intricate event.

Shouldn’t one always be saying ten things with each word?

He said nothing with such eloquence we asked for less.

I’m sitting up in bed. I think I’m alone now.

Under an unopened umbrella a dry whisper of unbegun rain.

Umbrella, door. One you will open under, one open through.

Opened, the door lets everything out, everything but the inside.

Even when there’s only one, I don’t believe in one. 

I’m afraid of the man who isn’t here or there.

God measured the light with all the dark there was.
God saw that it wasn’t good. He hadn’t made good.

God made an ear, a jar to pour secrets in. 

So the secrets can get out, you have a mouth. 

That lonesome cry – all it wants is an echo’s company.

The echo ever thinner, thinner, the silence fattening on it. 

Out of all the gods, there is one that’s sorry.

In this café they say we’re sorry, not thank you.

The sun is lighting the caverns, plying his nighttime route.

The moon pretends not to see her, turns his face.

By moon’s light I see the shadow of her name.

Burned, the letter smelled sad. It couldn’t keep secrets anymore. 

A single letter in the burned letter, blacker than ash.

It is I, said the word, an I for everybody. 

Eye to hole, he saw the world, not the wall.

This way to the end. What do we do there?

It’s right here we start the journey we’ve been on.

Start from where you used to be, or could be.

He’s done with the journey, yet he keeps moving about.

That night he dreamt, not of running but of resting.

What we need, it hasn’t come. We’re at that point.

The cat sniffs and sniffs the wad of unwashed shirt.

Do I smell anything where the cat sniffed? I don’t?

At last my hand’s in range of the cat’s chin.

Didn’t do. Did so. Didn’t so. Did it and done. 

I didn’t scare the lightning, but I saw the lightning bolt. 

I listened for the thunder. I listened again more quietly.

Count to one. Now consider how far you have come.

You were eating the apple too fast. Remember it slow.

The city grew up all by itself, with nobody’s help.

The road won’t go anywhere until you take it there.

There was one milestone. Years later you remember it well.

Before the road was built, no one knew a way.

Everyone knows the beautiful rock. Around it the world revolves.

Everyone she knew was lost in the woods, everyone knew.

Everything counts. But some don’t. Some don’t count at all.

It was nothing. That’s really all there was to say.

The word the cat uses stretches in meaning, stretches, stretches.

Closer to infinity or to nothing? Please, answer the cat.
From the beginning we begin. No other place to start.
We turned into tomorrow, yet we also somehow stayed today. 

Say it once. Don’t repeat yourself. Don’t listen for echoes.

He listens for shadows. He knows the sounds they make.

Glenn Ingersoll works for the public library in Berkeley, California. His poetry reading & interview series Clearly Meant is on covid hiatus, but videos of past events can be found on the Berkeley Public Library YouTube channel. Ingersoll's prose poem epic, Thousand, is available from bookshop.org and as an ebook from Smashwords. He has two chapbooks, City Walks (broken boulder) and Fact (Avantacular). He keeps two blogs, LoveSettlement and Dare I Read. Poems have recently appeared in Spillwords, Sparks of Calliope, and Sparkle and Blink.
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