Biography In the First Person
(an homage to Stephen Dunn)
This is not the way I am.
Really, I am much thinner in person,
the hairline I reveal reaches backto my grandmother,
and the shyness my mother will not believe in
has always been why I was bold on first meetings.
My father was never a crack salesman.
I meant to save his pines, the small acclamations I shall show my friends.
And the conscience I keep by my bed was his, too; an heirloom.
I am somewhat older than you can tell.
The early deaths have started to decompose behind my eyes,
leaving lines apparently caused by smiling.
My voice sometimes reflects the time I believed in prayer
as a way of getting what I wanted.
I am none of my clothes.
My poems are rarely true.
The games I play and how I play them
are the arrows you should follow: they'll take youto the enormous body of a child.
It is not that simple.
At parties I have been known to remove from the bookshelf the kind of book
that goes best with my dress.
My habits in bed are so perverse that they differentiate me from no one.
And I prefer soda, the bubbles just after it's opened,
to anyone who just lies there.
Be careful: I am desperate to make you believe in me.
When I come home at night after pouring my soul unto paper,
I want to search the universe and pick its brains.
Oh, I am much less flamboyant than this.
If you ever meet me, I'll be the one with a wreath of peonies.