‘And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.’ -T.S. Eliot (“Burnt Coker”)
On December 31st, 1999 I entered my home
and didn’t come out again until January 1st, 2010.
The Millennium’s just a trick of time.
9-11? I read the book.
Looked out onto my block.
First black president-elect?
Still recall several first mayors
and a great deal of debt.
A neighbourhood kid cut my grass
trimmed my hedges and raked
then when he graduated
he hired his brother for me.
Of this I’m most proud:
through it all I barely touched
an electrical switch.
Detroit Edison presumed me deceased.
They called up one night after fourteen months
a call that was like taking a pulse
It still beats.
Was I the man who stopped paying his bills?
Never stopped, I said
I just don’t get any juice from you I can use.
a man from the News learned all this
and he, too, phoned one night
asking was it true I hadn’t stepped outside
in (then) six years?
What motivated me to withdraw from the world like that?
George Harrison once wrote
and I quote:
‘Without going out of my door
I can know all things on Earth.’
I never actually withdrew;
things just came into hyper focus.
I saw much within one quarter mile
to allow myself this needed repose.
–Jeremy Nathan Marks