The Poetry of
Jack Scott

This is Something Different

This is something different.
I sit, but do not wait.
There is too much to wait for,
I must have something now.

I work constantly,
I loved constantly,
all constantly past.

Now I worry.
Because of wartime rationing,
what countries do we want to own
besides the one we nearly have?

I have precariously:
house, children, some of wife,
the fullness of catastrophe:
job, surprisingly,
more an anchor than a livelihood.

I can lose by not gaining,
by not holding on to gain.
I have something to protect,
to save of me.

Life gnaws my stomach,
survival bites
my fingers seem a prison wall
pressed upon my face.

Unexplored National Geographically,
my well worn street
might be an antipode,
that place where opposites end up.

Australia one way,
up or down another,
no round trip, no ticket punched,
I’m still right here.

Whatever former assured,
then latter guaranteed,
the warranty’s integrity is in foreign hands
forging signatures only in translation.

Do not do to chicken
what you would dread
that chicken do to you.
That goes for ducks as well.

Vegetarianism is your safest route
to birdless chastity.
Remember chicken gooses back
so do not pluck with it.

Unfeelingness might at first glance
nervous spasms, cramps and twitches
ascending into actual pain,
but numbness is a barrier
impervious to dreams and hopes and wishes,
so before you build that wall or allow it to be built,
so tell your architect
that you want doors and windows.

I have something to save of me,
something I have made
of something I have never been or ever had.
I cannot afford the loss of everything,
there must be something to conserve.

I dissolve in vacuum leaving nothing
for my will’s bequeathment,
no pen, no hand to sign
no final testimony.

This thing I’ve made, this resolute creation,
the residue at the bottom of my pot
after lifelong distillation,
obviously not me- I’m gone.
Something like a scent to trigger vivid memory
that photograph or art can’t conjure.
Let us construe the use of it,
concoct it from surrounding air.

I could not support my life,
and it would not support me.
I was factory without a product,
so now the doors are closed,
the space within unpopulated.

This thing I’ve made at last, what is it?
It will remain with you, a teasing
unlikely to escape your mind
or burrow too far in.

It is a question that will torment,
whose answer I will take with me
to my destination: silence.
And lest you think too good of me,
I’ll take the question, too.

L42 ®Copyright 1972 Jack Scott. All rights reserved.