How to Tie a Knot

If I eat a diet of rain and nuts, walk to the P.O.
in a loincloth, file for divorce from the world of matter,
say not-it! to the sea oats, not-it! to the sky
above the disheveled palms, not-it! to the white or green oyster boats
and the men on the bridge with their fishing rods
that resemble so many giant whiskers,
if I repeat this is not it, this is not why I'm waiting here,
will I fill the universe with all that is not-it
and allow myself to grow very still in the center of 
this fishing town in winter? Will I look out past the cat
sleeping in the windowsill and say not-it! garbage can,
not-it! Long's Video Store, until I happen upon what
is not not-it? Will I wake up and BEHOLD!
the "actual," the "real," the "awe-thentic," the IS?
              Instead I walk down the Island Quicky, take a pound
of bait shrimp in an ice-filled baggie, then walk to the beach
to catch my dinner. Now waiting is the work
I'm waiting for. Now the sand crane dive-bombs the surf
of his own enlightenment because everything
is bait and lust and hard-up for supper.
                                 I came out here to pare things down,
wanted to be wind, simple as sand, to hear each note
in the infinite orchestra of waves fizzling out
beneath the rotting dock at five o'clock in the afternoon
when the voice that I call I is a one-man boat
slapping toward the shore of a waning illusion.
Hello, waves of salty and epiphanic distance. Good day,
bird who will eventually
go blind from slamming headfirst into the water.
What do you say fat flounder out there
deep in your need, looking like sand speckled with shells,
lying so still you're hardly there, lungs lifting
with such small air, flesh both succulent and flakey
when baked with white wine, lemon and salt, your eyes
rolling toward their one want when the line jerks, and the reel
clicks, and the rod bends, and you give up
the ocean floor for a mouthful of land.


James Kimbrell, "How to Tie a Knot" from Smote. Copyright © 2015 by James Kimbrell.  Reprinted by permission of Sarabande Books, Inc..
Source: Smote (Sarabande Books, 2015)
More Poems by James Kimbrell