Friday, September 16, 2011

Top of My Lungs

Top of My Lungs

By Natalie Goldberg

Even though I am unhappy
I come home singing at the top of my lungs
Shovel off the new snow and shove it on the old
Open the useless screened porch door
and take off my big boots
There are fried eggs
yellow as pearls
The old bed I dive into like a warm whale
The phone ringing
that duck on the wall
And even though I am unhappy
I sleep with the peace of flying angels
And even though I am sad
my wallet's empty
I buy the best soap
And even though my heart is hurting
out of sure will
I come home singing with the last night wind
and the first morning star
and the canary
and the summer that was killed below our house

I walk down to the Rainbow Café
call my Catholic friend Mary to come
have a drink and eat a turkey sandwich
The down coat I wear all winter still has the goose feathers
from a hundred flying birds
They let us smoke at our small table
Mary will always meet me here
They fill your glasses with the most sparking water
for free
and the cold moon rises over the marquee
of the Suburban World theater

So even though I am unhappy
I throw back my old goat throat
and sing slowly
"Oh my darlin' Clementine"
by the beautiful lake in Minnesota
as the pressure of the black night cold
moves in on us from all ten directions
I sing to the moon above the lake
"You are lost and gone forever"
calling the pure beast of loneliness down from the sky
with the old American song haunting city lights
"Dreadful sorry Clementine"
and though the very earth has swelled up
like an elephant with pain
I stand on its back singing
in this sad universe
where one lover leaves another for all time
and nothing to say with your feet on the ground.

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