Poetry Without Motion

Over the past few months, I’ve been sifting through and purging old photos, memorabilia, books, games, and anything I saved in a shoebox, wine box, or folder.

I had a couple of binders of newspaper clippings alone. Stories, opinions pieces, or articles I must have felt I couldn’t live without. I kept letters and cards that mattered to me at the time, which meant almost every one I ever received. A few of these letters came from people I now don’t remember. There are several letters from a guy who lived in Colorado. I have no memory of this person. But we must have exchanged a half-dozen letters. And since the letters were handwritten and mailed, I don’t have any of my replies, which is so different than seeing entire conversations in an email thread. The smell of the old letters, and the tactile experience of sliding them out of their envelopes, then unfolding and holding the pages of ink felt like a relic from a bygone era. And I loved every second of it. This is something my son will most likely never experience. I doubt he or anyone his age is stashing away emails in a wooden Mouton-Cadet wine box.

This morning, I began sifting through my computer files. Tucked away in a folder within a folder of a main folder called “Writing,” I found a bunch of poetry. In my teens and twenties, I used to free write and free associate—with a pen and notebook—ideas for poems, stories, characters, or just random lines I might want to include in a play or story one day. At some point, I must have transcribed these ideas and “poems”—quotes because I’m not sure they can actually qualify as such—into Word documents.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’ve been posting some old pictures in what I’m calling the “Youth is Wasted on the Young,” or YIWOTY, photo series. I could probably do the same with some of these “poems.” Words are also wasted on the young.

For now, here’s a “poem” I found called steps. I couldn’t tell you the inspiration or meaning behind the words. Unfortunately my personal time capsule doesn’t come with footnotes. Since it’s dated “January 1993,” my best guess is that it has something to do with coming out and living openly as a gay man.

Here’s an image of how I transcribed and formatted the words in Word. Text follows below.


Seed fertilized by normality
bruised innocence
Footprints in the diameter
crippled suppression
Life and Spirit vanish quickly

Cement brick wall mirages
caged denial
Blood clots in a swimming pool
buried deception
Moonstruck afternoon traffic jams

Maze of quicksand staircases
perplexed acceptance
Purple colored apples and oranges
endured transition
Butterflies in flight

Seed fertilized by truth

by Peter Mercurio
January 1993


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