“When I Am Really Me” — Steven C. Scheer

When I am really me, I impersonate
Myself & when I impersonate
Myself, I don’t always do a good job.
Let’s say I am in the supermarket
Among the vegetables, smelling – if not
The roses then the onions and garlic.
I am the man with the gray hair and
Beard. Vegetables are good for you,
They say. They will keep you smelling
The roses, as opposed to pushing up
The daisies. As I pass the wine bottles
I think of days when drinking with
Friends was a thing of beauty.

Clinking glasses, the joys of
Smiles and laughter. Funny jokes.
But then I am elsewhere. In the
Aftermath. As twilight arrives and
The full moon beckons, I am on
The porch, looking out towards
The Ohio. It’s a river, too, you know.
When I was a kid, I swam in the Danube.
These rivers no longer accommodate
Swimmers who brave the whirlpools
And the treacherous currents.

Too many years have gone by
Since I felt secure. Animal fat
Was my middle name. And fried
Foods. Martinis and whipped cream.
That was the diet to end all diets.
And the pounds came off, but
So did my hair. I had to stop.
The new me, slender in the waist
And proud as Punch without Judy,
Never meant to last a long time.

These days I can also impersonate
Myself while reading a poem. Like this,
Which I am writing at the moment.
And I think of all those times
When the “real me” slipped by me
And went on to impersonate
Buffoonery and the professorate.
They said I wasn’t myself.
I spoke with passion, with
Heat and vulgarity. About the
Beauty of words. Their gentility.
Yes, “we are such stuff as dreams
Are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”
You know, I do believe that
Even Shakespeare would agree
That if life didn’t exist,
It would be impossible to invent it.
Image
(R.I.P. Uncle Steve:  1942-2012)

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