Transcendental

By 6 a.m., I have already walked the dog, emptied
the washing machine, and considered breakfast
Carefully over a gallon or two of coffee. This is why
old white men like me have no business whatsoever
Writing memoirs. Emerson was all about self-
reliance, but never scribbled a word about the laundry.
Did Emerson do underwear? Who cares? Transcendence
is transcendence, in the end, but nothing is universal
Except the universe. How many humans know what
the latest space probe found in the rings of Saturn, much less
How long a piece of thread the Fates have trimmed to embroider
a monogram on the pocket of my shirt? My shirt, buddy,
One more vanity, one more possession with my initials on it
that has to be cast in the washer, given over to that supreme
Agitation, spun in the vortex, whipped, and cleansed.

Citizen

I am visiting the books, abiding among them awhile,
not bothering them—they are all at peace
On the polished shelves, even The Great War
and Modern Memory. A person can be a burden
To a book, I am mindful of this, especially the kind who reads
fiercely and makes notes in the margins.
I will leave them alone for awhile. I thought I might review
what Plato wrote about the Republic,
Then consult Diderot and Rousseau on the citoyen,
but the stacks are their own nation, a geography
Of consciousness, so many dead minds mapped in high relief
against the silence, my brothers and sisters in their bound
Domain. There are powers among them, but no tyrants.
None of them is unfair or foreign to the others. In this room
I throw away my useless passport. I will be anonymous
in my heavy body, paper-white. Left too long
On a table in the sun, I am coming a little unglued.