Reading Poetry At Three O’clock In The Morning

I often read poetry when I wake up during the night at a time when most are sound asleep. It is quiet now with only the hum of the refrigerator to keep me company and the occasional cat fight outside on the rooftops. I rub coconut oil into my tattoo (my first) hoping to prevent it from scabbing and to keep it moist, but the inevitable, whatever that is, will still happen. It always does. There will be a shedding of the outer layer and a regeneration of new skin. That is the way life goes on. “Their loss is no disaster.”

I am not happy with Apple’s new operating system. It makes a few improvement and comes with more problems than before but I will adapt. I always do. We always do. It is our nature. Why do they have the need to change things every year? They call it improvement. I call it “disaster.” The old operating system worked well. They perfected it over the course of the last year with nine or ten updates and improvements. They finally get it to work they way they intended it to work from the beginning. Then they make a new model. Why change what has been perfected? Or nearly! It is like my father having to buy a new car every two or three years when the old one ran perfectly well. People always wanted to buy my father’s used cars because he took care of them more than he took care of us. His car was his status symbol in the community. His family was the albatross around his neck. We never really got to know each other. In the same way my daughter will never get to know me nor I her. We, my father and I, were not designed to be family men, I suppose. We are both rolling stones. “Wherever he lay his hat was his home.”

I miss you. Feelings cannot be conveyed over the phone even with your image on my computer screen. Our words are heard but not really understood. There is so much space for misunderstanding when we are separated by so great a distance and time. I do something or recommend a possible solution I think will help you because I hear panic and stress in your voice when you call but my solution causes you additional problems which was never my intent. I hear the ire in your email the next day. What do they say? The road to hell is paved with good intentions? I still do not fully understand what that means but perhaps it is appropriate. I do not know. Is it?

Have you had the opportunity to read the essay I sent you by Roger Angell, This Old Man? You did not say anything about it during our last call. It is about growing old. The changes, the losses. The inability to do the things we once did. Our dependencies on others and how they see us. When we talk on the phone, there is interference beyond our control. Your sister is there, or you don’t want your guests to hear you, or the internet connection is not good. I feel left out of your life even though you try to keep me abreast of the things you do each day. It is difficult to feel you as a part of my life when you are only an image on the computer screen, and we are only communicating with words. Words sometimes are not enough. I always think of something I wanted to ask or share with you after we hang up. It is not as easy as going into the next room and asking you in person.

We have spent more time apart than together. That is what concerns me with your decision to remain in another country. I support your choices and you, but I am concerned. All at the same time. Maybe it is because I do not have an attachment to place as you do. Wherever I am is beautiful to me. Wherever I lay my hat is home. I do not have the attachment to friends and family you have. Nor do I have attachment to country or state. That is life. This is my life. We are all different. My mother and her sisters all lived and died within a few blocks of where they were born. I will die here, wherever that happens to be. I do not know. Times and places are always changing, not always on a schedule as are Apple updates, but they do change.

These are just some of my thoughts at three in the morning while listening to the silence and reading the poem “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop. I look forward to sharing time together whenever we do. Heart to heart. Soul to soul. Skin to skin. No internet or wi-fi required.

I love you.


Listen to Miranda Otto read “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop here.

Listen to the Temptations sing “Papa Was A Rolling Stone here.

Note: It was Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “One Art” which inspired my poem “Moments.” You can read the poem here.

You can read my poem, “Three O’clock In The Morning” here.