Sunday, November 1, 2015

So, This is What Living Means

artwork:ralph murre

So, This is What Living Means
by Angela Consolo Mankiewicz

What a relief, to finally know
what living means:
an extra skate key
stashed under a garbage can,
on the right side of the stoop.

Years ago, I tried to ponder all
the great questions.  I read Nietzsche
and Dostoyevsky and fell in love
with a bulge-eyed Frenchman.
I tried to do what was expected
of a working class kid in a state college:
think, read, talk the big questions;
prove your mother right.

But I was a fake.  Friends read N and D too,
and understood them.  They were impressed
by my love for the bulge-eyed Frenchman,
my facile quotes delivered with meaningful
pauses.  They didn't know I yawned through N
and read D because he told a good story.

Marriage and a real job distracted, just in time.
I had things to do and need not ponder
what living means.  I stopped reading N
and fell out of love.  But kept D by my bedside.

Later on, with divorce behind me and poetry on my mind,
I watched my cat play with a terrified lizard;
I looked at rain; I choked on hot winds scorching
my tomato plants and began to ponder again,
but nothing happened.

I read N again and the bulge-eyed Frenchman, but I
didn't fall in love.

I understood better this time, but I was still
shaky on details and settled down with D
to forget myself.

"Why" is a good word, a solid word that can
occupy a lifetime.  But an answer to why isn't meaning.

"Is" is a good word too.  Something of substance.
Like an extra skate key stashed under a garbage can,
on the right side of the stoop, just in case,
just in time.

~ originally published on