Poem: On Being Ten Again


On Being Ten Again

When I was ten I was sent to camp.
I never signed up for any of the activities,
preferring to wander around all day
and insert myself into whatever looked fun.
It took them two weeks to catch on to me
and insert me into their regimen,
a perfect little cog in their wheel.

But it was too late.
My personality had been formed,
I had become a wanderer,
happiest when I can go from here to there
without restriction.

Never mind that I am an introvert par excellance.
(purposefully misspelled for effect),
and play well with my own ghosts and demons
in the quiet of my home. Oh no, never mind that,

my soul is fed in the wandering, the listening, the seeing,
in the calliope of life as it circles about, always
changing horses, changing seats,
never seeking the perfect fit,
simply curious what the next one will feel like
and what the view might be from somewhere else.

And so here I am, old and grey,
self-exiled with the rest of the country.
My hair has become unruly and long.
The same scenery has become old and dry.
Even my demons are tired of the sameness,
of a life reduced to one place and one view and one voice.

How can there be harmony, with one voice?
How can there be dissonance with one voice?
Where is the interest? The challenge?
What do the little grey cells do?
How will they dance?

I sigh a lot as I read. As I listen to old music with new ears.
Like a bull in a cage, I wait to be released,
the bonds no less restrictive because I applied them.
There is wandering to do.

I know it will come, but at times I am that ten-year-old.
More often than I like to admit,
Not so much interested in breaking the rules,
as pretending they do not exist.


About this poem

The camp story is true. So is the rest of it for that matter.

This poem was a lot of fun to write. That is not always the case.

The picture was taken at Mass MoCA. It’s the inside of an Airstream trailer, about 50 feet off the ground. It’s art. Trust me on this.


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