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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Out To Lunch

Dead Beat will be back in a jiffy. In the meantime he sends you this slice of self-revelation.

Bringing Words Home
(Winnipeg International Writers Festival 2000)

Before I could speak,
before I could see my way into this world
I was already leaving.
Before I was born
the journey had already begun.
For what else is there to do in this life but leave
leave every moment of it behind?
“What else am I to do?” I ask my family.
Together they answer, “Stay,
you could always stay.”
But still I go.

How can I ever explain that I am already at home,
at home in the language of living?
How can I ever explain that I have never been away,
have never been further than my words,
have never been as far as my words can take me?
“Bring something home,” my family intone.
“Bring yourself home.”
But instead I bring home words.


If it’s words you’re after,
I’m your man.
I have more words than you could shake a stick at,
more words than I could ever write,
more words than I could ever speak.
I have words of all shapes and sizes,
long words and short words,
thin words and plump words,
words anorexic and words obese.

Words that can stretch
and words that fold up neat.
Words bulging with intent
and words with holes
where meaning leaks.
* * *
I have words dressed up to the nines
and words that are naked, by times.
* * *
I have Irish words and English words,
Chinese words and Cree words,
words that have no language
and words you can never translate.
Bog words and prairie words,
mountain words and sea words,
frozen words from the icy North
and fiery words with equatorial heat.
I have words beaten out on drums,
and words which strike like machetes cleaving limbs,
words with blood on their hands.
* * *
I have so many words I could never give them all away,
so many words I share them indiscriminately
whether people want to hear them or not.
Words I have borrowed
and words I will never give back.
Words that have never been spoken
and words that have yet to be heard.
If it’s words you’re after,
I’m your man.


No matter where I go I find new words,
new ways of saying hello
and new ways of saying goodbye.
For what are words
but ways of leaving?
Which one of us could say
we have always stayed in one place?
Which one of us could say
we have never left anything behind?
Whose words have you forgotten?
“Stay,” my family implore,
“You could always stay.”
While I am already out the door.
“Well then,” they intone,
“bring something home.
Bring yourself home.”
But instead I bring home words.

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