We were talking about clutter.
How the hell to get a handle on
the swamp of papers and files,
boxes of hurry, the need for some
secret method to make it all
perfect, when I saw the photo
you had shown me before,
your face between your mother’s
and your father’s at the dinner
for their anniversary, all the smiles,
but a different look in your eyes
or maybe I just add that after
you told me that the doctors’
lost you on the table that morning
for a short while and how you
knew you could go on to
the other side, but you weren’t
ready, there was more here for you.
much more than heaps of paper
much more than me
but that was ten years before me.
And puzzles and projects and
fixing things all appeal to my brain
which my body carries around for me
So I offered the only thought that has
ever made sense to me about
the idea of order.
“You have to decide the place
where things will go,
where they belong,
which ones to keep.
And then you have to clear that place
and lift them to it
Then you have to stick to it.
If you don’t, if you move
it to a temporary refuge you are lost,
the alligators will get you and the swamp
will fill in again.
Nature hates a vacuum.
It will be as if you were in a boat
with no oars, drifting,
waiting for the moon to show up
because you are alone and in the dark
and angry because you
have done it again,
done it to yourself,
as if we were really talking
about clutter and not about time
and not about the drifting emptiness
that we glimpse
that I recognize more each day
that burns my ass and turns me against
myself until I throw that out
the entire thrown together
accumulated mess of nothing
and nothing and nothing
much at all.
Like me and not the least bit like me
you want to wear alligator shoes
and go dancing until
the sun replaces the moon
and the coolness of the night air begins to heat.
I will take an order of that.
– copyright 2006 William J. Gibson –