Poems from a Plane 2 (“I can’t do this!”/Fussy Baby)

A Shared Lament or An Historical Retelling of “I can’t do this!”
by Doug Bursch

“I can’t do this!”
I shouted this in the car today
More than once, more than several, less than many times!
I didn’t count, I’m counting now, or trying to count now
But I didn’t count then. I just did it repeatedly.
“I can’t do this!”
Is what I shouted
…repeatedly.
Not like a mantra, but maybe the beginning of one.
Or maybe not, as I’ve never chanted a mantra
Nor shouted a mantra repeatedly.

“I can’t do this!”
It felt good to shout it in the car
With no one listening.
Although now you are listening
So I don’t know if that’s what I did.
Maybe I was shouting alone, to explain later.
But I don’t think I meant for you to hear, at least not when I was shouting
“I can’t do this!”
Alone in the car, on my long drive to the airport.

Now I am not alone, I am in a plane
And I cannot shout in this plane
“I can’t do this!”
You can’t do that on a plane
Nor do I want to.

Mr. Rogers said “feelings are mentionable.”
He didn’t shout much
At least not when I was watching.
Maybe he did it alone, in the car, repeatedly.
It’s hard to believe that’s true.
Seems like Mr. Rogers could do this.

But “I can’t do this!” or maybe I don’t want to
Or maybe I just wanted to shout it
And now I want to mention it…
This unmentionable feeling
This unmentionable torment
This unmentionable detour
The place I find myself no matter how hard I try to escape it.

“I can’t do this!”
Maybe I’ll quit and join the circus
I’ll become a sword swallower or a trapeze artist.
You say, “I can’t do that!”
I say exactly!

Fussy Baby
by Doug Bursch

The baby three rows forward to the right is cry screaming
Ear pain, gas pain, inconsolable newborn baby cry screaming.
I know this cry scream…all four of my own did this once or twice
Or many times. Sometimes in good places, sometimes in inconvenient places
Sometimes in awful places…like a plane.

And I am full of dread…
Not dread of the scream or the duration of the scream.
Not dread of the baby or the mother or their negotiations
But dread…
Dread of the sighs
Dread of the murmurs
Dread of the refusal to smile or welcome.
Dread of the others.

As if our purpose is other than this baby
As if our life was meant for more than this…
This reason to be human.

The child will not relent, no matter how much I write.
No matter how much I assess, the child will not relent.
Screaming and crying, crying and screaming, unrelenting.

As if my purpose is other than those who respond to this baby
As if my life was meant for more than this…
This reason to be human.

I cannot escape what is three rows forward.
It’s in me and with me, long after I disembark.

Lost Children

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One Response to Poems from a Plane 2 (“I can’t do this!”/Fussy Baby)

  1. lovetruthpeace2014 July 3, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    Reblogged this on lovetruthpeaceblog.

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