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“It’s just the soul that matters
    ~ Toto, “Lovers in the Night” from the album Toto IV (1982)


Should the body’s health matter
As the drawling chow-hound school board directors
Of the so-called communities surrounding these nematode-infested fields
Issue a bland health book
Illustrated in jaundice yellow putrefaction green
A blue the hue of the lips
From which the soul escapes
As we read these pages understanding
It’s good for us
As ill-prepared foul-mouthed vegetables from the cafeteria down the hall
That overcooking
As everybody knows
Who’s happy in excess decadence corruption
By the book
What’s good for the body
This abject ennui
What’s good for the soul
This ephemeral who-knows-what
Isn’t what matters
As if soul and body are disjoint
Or soul doesn’t exist
From a bureaucratic perspective
The health on which life depends
A colorful boredom
Where’s the magic in life or living
Should anyone wonder
At the relationship
Between health and books


Should people be well
Who deride those nurturing and sharing warm femininity
Whether for love or money
To rather praise those who suppress squander subvert it
For an abstraction
The officials athletes boardroom superstars cold-hearted competitors
No more than sexy teasers
What a difference in perspective
A decade or two can make
As an all but forgotten book
Procured by all but forgotten agents
Neglecting to mention
Whose words convince
Whose illustrations gag
Whose feminism emasculates
Surely not the women not the powerful not the well
From whence comes life
In which what’s going on that’s interesting
What captures the doctors’ attention
What matters
For the automatons described in those old sour pages
Superior in their smooth efficiency
To the soul
If it exists
What matters
Could hardly supersede cool rationality
Of sensible responses to all events
Of acceptance of one’s place in the cosmos
Of letting go
Of unrealistic expectations
Perhaps not without a sarcastic comment
As in that pop song where you know
I won’t hold you back
Now from the life of your dreams without me
Should I remain reasonable
Yet have I room to cynically observe
Just how much you care
As you disappear


Should anyone wonder
What difference
Having grown up somebody else’s problem
Dwelling in somebody else’s community
Confronting somebody else’s expectations
Dreaming somebody else’s dreams
Reading somebody else’s literature
Completing course after course of somebody else’s educational curriculum
Marrying somebody else’s allure
Working for somebody else’s aggrandizement
Performing for somebody else’s business
Spending somebody else’s time
Paying with somebody else’s money
Participating in somebody else’s great society
Standing upon what’s cracked up to be somebody else’s planet whereupon
Fighting to own what was for years claimed somebody else’s land
To come home at last
At least
Never having been anybody else’s person
Makes me
In perspective
In growing up
In meeting my own expectations
In becoming nobody’s problem
Not necessarily somebody else’s


Should I fail to give my heart
Should I never accept vulnerability
Should anyone wonder
As upon meeting someone I’m afraid of love
Whether I can love
Both fearless and vulnerable at once
I can’t articulate how this matters
To a health
Not mentioned in books


Should perceptions of so basic a thing
That proves magical and malleable
As music heard again
For the first time
Flowing with that which just can’t be found
A rock singer’s grammatical sensibility
Exchanged for the body’s innate wisdom
So no one holds it back
From rushing into my arms
As words left unsaid
Left to chance
Left to guesswork
Left standing to ask
Or meekly answer
Should words ever adequately convey
What matters
Should I break from the bonds
Of perspective
Everybody knows
Should anyone wonder at the relationship
Between health and clarity


Should I at last give my heart
Realizing after these years
It may have been wanted
No way to take the next step
Where no ground’s underneath
For the rest of my years
Suspended expectantly this long cruel falling moment
No sense reaching
To break an impact
As its approach
I only dream
A reality in orbit
Where no friction no resistance no twelve-thirty flight no means
To bring that heavenly body so much
As an iota closer
Was there ever more than dream
Of friends and their insights
One sitting drunk over a guitar or banging my window at night
Another setting me up to date a spouse
Or yet another reading the responses to my personal ad
Calling drivel
What without question drove me to solicit
Of family and warmth
The requirement of my checkmarks of participation
The exchange of letters about lives
As if they can be shared that way
Of social life or at least institutions
A church where endless solitude’s respected
A university or workplace where it’s left me free to accomplish
Anything for any number of organizations vying for my all
Leaving the things we never had to do
Worthy of commemorating in song
Heard ‘round the world
No longer optional
Experiential exploration
Of the depth of relationship
Between health and community

Thanks always returns

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