Gunilla Klingberg, Wheel of Everyday Life

This was an assignment for documentary poetry. We were supposed to write a persona poem and I chose to write about a specific moment that I’ve been thinking about since last semester. I went to Target with Rieho and Dorothy for some back to school stuff, groceries, etc. and on the way out of the parking lot, I made brief eye contact with a man working by pushing grocery carts. This was …no joke…one of the most intense exchanges with another human being I have ever had. I was struck by the amazing way he carried himself, and simultaneously, the shame I felt pitying him and imagining his life and dreams. I recall immediately writing about him in the Notes of my phone and jokingly told Rieho and Dorothy I was writing a poem. Well, here it is! Written in “his” voice and inspired by meditating on the exhibit happening on the Rice campus right now…”Wheel of Everyday Life” by Gunilla Klingberg. (Go see it!)

Wheels of Everyday Life

I do not need
to see your exhibit in its cold glass cage

to see the words;
spiraling from,
seeping out
from under the glass.

I do not need
to look in from the outside.
To see the inscriptions
dripping on
licking at
your faces, hands and knees.

I do not need to be reminded
of the bulls-eye circling
round and round my neck.

Like your hot breath on the glass
trapped inside spinning.

I may want you
to know when you look at me
of the uprising, the way my blood boils in heat.
I may want you to know that before the
grocery carts inscribed them,
My hands felt books, breasts, and an old worn ball.

Make no mistake.
Though my life is a barren room of
manufactured inscriptions…

(Parking lots drown me,
paper bags restrain me)

Though I am a hunted man
With a target on my back,

I do not need your love, your pity-love,
I do not need your selfish
fearful pity-love.
I do not need.

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