Poem on Rice Paper
She forced my music into headphones
and gave away my comics.
She dried out all my wet dreams
and "lost" my khaki t-shirt.
She sucked the milk out of my coffee
and the froth from off my beer.
Please don't tell her I write poetry!
23 July 1989
This is a gross exaggeration of course but there’s some truth here. I was clearly feeling hemmed-in at this point in my life. Less by F. if I’m being honest—and B. would’ve been no better—but by where my life choices had led me and were leading me; the future looked bleak. Everything important to me was getting squeezed into smaller and smaller boxes or eradicated. That’s what happens when you try to walk in another man’s footsteps. Of course it depends on which translation you read. Some render 1 Peter 2:21 as “follow his footsteps” whereas others say “follow in his footsteps”. That wee “in” does make all the difference. The first means head in the same general direction; the latter means adjust your gait to his. If you’ve even walked down the beach and tried to step in the footsteps of someone whose gone ahead of you you’ll realise how unnatural it feels especially if he’s a couple of feet taller than you.
Most habits are unnatural at first; you have to work at them until they become ingrained. That still doesn’t make them natural. You’ve just trained yourself to behave a certain way. Like one of Pavlov’s dogs or Skinner’s rats. This doesn’t mean that everything unnatural is bad—you don’t see many animals doing calisthenics or yoga or reciting the times tables—and what’s so bad about a bell ringing to tell you it’s time for tea? In big houses there used to be a dinner gong for goodness sake.