harlequin-and-clown-with-mask-1942
THE WAITING LIFE
by Daniel Kaczmarek

I’m waiting to come out
or go back in,
to look up at the night sky and see
more than a fly trapped in a dewy web.

I’ve swallowed the pills,
sang the hymns,
prayed in every sanctuary.

I’m still waiting for some realization,
for inspiration, for science books
to finish their rewrites, for man
to discover another piece of himself
and not call it God.

I’m waiting for the editor’s feedback
on the first few chapters
of my Harlequin life.

I’m waiting for the answers to download
through the endless buffering
of my programmable dreams.

I’m waiting in the line I’ve been assigned,
listening to the music of another song about waiting
as I spin through my days like a dervish
under the dimming city lights.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I discovered Lawrence Ferlinghetti in college, when I was assigned to do a presentation on the Beat Poets for an Introduction to American Literature course. I remember getting points taken away for spending too much time obsessing over “I Am Waiting” and not enough time on Ginsberg’s “Howl.” I stand by my decision.

IMAGE: “Harlequin and Clown with Mask” (detail) by Rafael Zabaleta (1942).

kaczmarek

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniel Kaczmarek is a native of Buffalo, New York, where he currently works as an assessment consultant to colleges across the United States, teaches developmental composition, and pines for a winning season from his local sports teams. His previous work has appeared in The Cleveland Review, The Madison Review, nibble, and the anthology Click of Time: Reflections on the Digital Age.