I know this town

offering 2

By George Hammons

I used to go door-to-door
soliciting sorrow,
reaping stories
things that got away
I used to mechanically
dole out the comfort-phrases
time heals all wounds
it could have been worse…

I was fond of
patting hands
and the backs of shoulders
as if to say
(which I always found too corny to actually speak aloud)
I was cautious to never appear judgmental
because judgment is a job better reserved for old white men
and I know my place
as well as I know this town.

In fact, in the beginning
I might have gone to my own door
and opened it to the sorrow
of things being gone.
I might have patted my own wretched hands
and spoke the words “there-there
and noticed that they can be appropriate
(when they are sincere).
I might have forgotten my place
judged myself any way
finding me
and therefore very capable of a job

So…this knowing
this going door-to-door
sorrow in the eyes
without blinking
listening to the loss
of faith,
of hope,
of love,
of life,
listening to the
that jerk
the things we desire
from our clutching fingers
as if to ask
“why can’t you understand what is really important?”

So yes,
I know this town
where the things we love don’t necessarily love us back
where they make us think
that they are really important,
and then move on.

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