A Shared Lament or Historical Retelling of “I Can’t Do This!”

A Shared Lament or 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

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!



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