Self-Portrait on the Go

Nathan Hoks


There was a bike crash but I kept walking
There was a cat pawing at the overturned tanker
But I kept walking
I was tired and dreamed of a giant potato chip
I passed the clinic that smelled of coffee
And the corner bakery that baked no more
I kept walking past the other clinic
Where Mom, in the stress of a divorce,
Leashed a hummingbird to the fence post
And I walked along many rotting fence posts
And many rusting fence posts
And I knew something should be burning inside me
But no complex image of immense wattage emerged
I stroked my ermine collar and turned up my headphones
I could sense no texture
Only a dull gray silence as the ultra-light car doors
Opened and closed continuously for several hours
All I wanted was to keep walking
Past the blue bookstore, past the decaying vacuum cleaner,
Around the noisy playground, along the bubbling stream
The patrol wagon stopped in my path
An audience gathered near the water tower
My only weapon was the threat of rain
My only weapon was a sackful of leaves
I am a small wet dog trying to drink the blue cement