When you can’t have what you want,
then want what you have.
That’s what They say anyway.
To me Their Zen feels too close to defeat,
and also, what about expanding?
Horizons, after all –
They have opinions on those too.
I’m concerned with the practical application
of advice widely considered
but not empirically shown
to be sage.
When you want what you have,
why even get out of bed?
Look here, They say:
count your blessings.
So maybe you do that too, make a list
of every item at the intersection of want and have.
You stick it on the fridge
next to one for groceries, one for chores
awakening in those routine scraps
a faint but pulsing force,
animate in comparison
to your crisp inventory of thanks.
While it’s true every to-do derives from deficit
it also presumes a future
and the power to make something of it.
Let’s be honest.
No one is blessed with expired mayonnaise
and a pile of filthy laundry.
You aspire to fresh condiments.
You covet clean socks.
Fulfillment dangles like the list itself:
given a decent supermarket,
an adequate paycheck,
and a few spare minutes to run the wash.
Maybe They in their fondness for pith and wit
prune a bit of truth from each axiom
and leave it to us to read the shape of the scars.
When the one you loved until you ran dry
doesn’t come back, They would have you yearn
only for absence.
They would have you thirst
for the taste of your own mouth.
I admit I have no credentials
and will never join Their ranks
so listen at your peril.
You don’t have to give thanks as you scrape
the bottom of the jar. You don’t have to want
They will accuse you of striving
but what do They know?
They’ve left behind the future,
having already carved their codas
into the mausoleum walls of history.
add a single word, a nod to ambition:
If you can’t have what you want
then want what you can have.
Choose not only the what
and the wanting
but also the true measure of your reach.
If not your dreams,
and an open road.
If not your native language,
then a voice
that echoes the song.
If not his skin
then lean out past the cramped
edges of now
and plunge your hands
into the place where power
crouching in the dark.
Image: Jacek Yerka, Fantastic Barn