This is a poem I wrote as part of a poetry workshop in Santa Cruz
What I Want
What I Want can’t really be written because
I wouldn’t want to admit it even to myself.
Part of it is dark; part of it is risque;
Part of it no one can know.
What I might SAY I Want
Would be said only to please others -
Love, caring, comfort, freedom from
Pain and death
I MIGHT even want world peace;
Certainly want to stop brutality,
Human trafficking, squalor, needless disease.
I Want my children to be happy
I Want my mother to die before indignity
I’d love to be able to freely share and communicate
with my siblings without prejudice
I’d like to be open to change and growth
to die with dignity myself
to age with grace and equanimity
I’d like to choose easily to wear outlandish hats
and garish colors that please only myself
I’d love to have waves break over me
without fear of the undertow;
feel the strength of a whale,
warmth of the Sun.
I Want to take my youngest granddaughters on a trip
to the other side of the world.
Watch them wonder at the different ways people live.
To carry them on my shoulders
and have them laugh!
I’d love to watch the leaves turn pink and purple and back to pink,
fade to translucent blush, waft on to the stream,
float out of sight.
I Want to stop writing right here, but not before
tasting the lips and touching the skin of Naomi.
But, since I can’t stop, I’ll Want some more:
Good coffee, down quilts, warm fireplace, a nice pinot
(a little on the fruity side), dreamless sleep, time
reminiscing about old friends and old times
with smiles returning on people from long ago.
Passionate politics, dreams of perfection,
visiting with Michelangelo or Da Vinci -
even Jefferson or Franklin would do.
I’ve really got to bail on this project.
I can start again -
I want to be free from ringing in my ears,
from wanting my mind to be numbed.
To be able to tolerate more
discord, disjunction, dismay, disappointment.
Let the buzz reverberate before trying to turn it off.
It would be great to just “go for it” without
worrying about what happens to the rest of the world or to others.
Just serve myself.
Bob Dylan said, “You’ve gotta serve somebody”.
I say “Why not serve yourself”.
Now I’m getting too close to the first part of my song.
Need to stop now - too dark.
Don’t want to know.