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Wednesday, May 25, 2005   |    Poetry & Lyric

I Sound My Chlorophyll Yawp

by Russell Bradbury-Carlin


One of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass Responds

It started with a corpulent guy who loafed and looked for my soul,
crawling on soft knees searching for stem and stone,
bearded head lifted toward leaves and branches,
looking for something beyond pulse in fingers
or beyond clutch of thought.

Myself—a spear of grass—
existence comprised of a tiny world
within reach of a small section of soil,
supposedly with all the answers to birth, death, reasons why,
connections to neighbors, alignments to the sun—
all at the tip of my roots …
and plenty of time to contemplate.

Now, drug-trippers and askers come to me
seeking knowledge and responses
on heaven and hell, recipes of health and sickness,
on beginnings and endings—
I do not talk of the beginning or the end.
Don’t you get it? I’m a blade of grass. I don’t talk
(though, obviously and strangely, I can write).
It’s hard enough seeking light, water and oxygen.

But, of course, you look to me.
Men—nomadic by virtue of mobility—
don’t plant roots.
Those feeling up-rooted, rootless, not knowing their home-soil—
look to those who have.
Awed by the breadth of the world—
its mountains and forests, its oceans and plains,
and the universe—
beyond the grasp of your small minds,
always looking beyond, further away,
seeking and seeking and seeking,
never stopping and staying,
waiting for grand collections of nothing
to accumulate into something.

I’ll tell you all that I do know—
stand still long enough,
reach out to the world within your grasp:
the firm grip of the dirt surrounding your roots,
the scent of the pungent oxygen-filled air you breath,
the sensation of the glorious sun on your broad blade—
everything eventually comes to you.

So, if you want to seek me again—look in your own boot soles.
Failing to find me at first—look for a friend.
Missing me one place—call a therapist,
maybe you’ll find yourself somewhere waiting for you.

Russell Bradbury-Carlin has a very bad memory. This is why he writes for Web sites such as Yankee Pot Roast. This way, he can check his bios each morning and remember who he is. So, “Good morning Russell. It’s 7 a.m. and you’re already late for work . . . It’s time to make the doughnuts . . . ha, ha, just kidding. Go back to bed." Russell has written for McSweeney’s, McSweeney’s, Opium Magazine, and Über, among others. (Note: “These are hyperlinked, Russell, so you can remember your accomplishments.”)