Nothing Special

by Mark Chmiel

I don’t aspire to the New York Times op-ed page
Or The New Yorker
I’d be pleased if Eileen Mosher “likes”
One of the free verse mind flows I write to and for her

My CV is one of the least impressive you’ll read
When it comes to professors who’ve been at it for 15 plus years like me
But I’ve had a fun time doing what it is I do
(People ask quizzically, “What do you do?”)

In the Zen tradition they say enlightenment is
Chopping wood
Carrying water
The day to day
The no-big-deal
The nothing worth 140 characters to trend you into instant Warholian micro-fame for 15 seconds

My writing has gotten simpler
Been getting free of academic-ese
(Obrigado, Rubem Alves!)
If my mother were alive
She could understand each line I write
(except maybe that Warhol reference)
Could Michel Foucault’s mom say that?

My dear friends are nobodies like me (isn’t that a relief?)
Some people fear losing loved ones in traffic accidents or terrorist attacks
My fear is that someone I love, respect, care for … will become famous
(Katie Consamus becomes a household name and she’ll never be able to sit with me outside at Northwest Coffee ever again)

The unspecial circles I travel in
The girl-next-door beloved I share life with
(She once took a psychology profile
And found out–big surprise– she was abnormally normal)
This ordinary life I have
This run of the mill anonymity I shared last night with Mollie Mohan
All these happinesses surrounding me each day I breathe on earth

Someone asks, “Hey, why are you smiling?”
I say, “I’m breathing in and out”
And he says, “So?”
I say, “What’s better than this?”

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