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The Tracks (2012)

I used to take long walks
Now I just try to finish reading long books
I used to plow deep into the woods
And emerge in a clearing with the sunlight on my face
Now I just peruse the 10 cent shelves
Looking for the rare, ragged Dwight McDonalds,
Histories of ancient mariners, histories of the PSUC-CNT-FAI conflicts in ‘37
I aimed to take an autumn walk down the tracks
The tracks I’ve been walking down for 13 years
That have never let me down
That have always been the bedrock of my life
Repository of all known memories and feelings
But I find I can’t do it this time
I don’t want to take any of my long walks to secret beautiful places
Hidden between the highways and the malls
I’ve walked them all too many times
All symbols of indulgence and indolence now
And indecision

I wanted to be the last to say this
But I think I know this place too well now
It just reminds me of a graveyard of memory
I want to walk somewhere strange and different where
I feel no feeling, no attachment or homesickness
A blank canvas far from every memory I have gathered thus far
Preferably somewhere warm
A place away from the bad habits and patterns that no longer serve me
The indulgence, indolence, and indecision
The thinking too much about it
Feeling the same feelings I’ve felt every time for all time
Tired of myself and no longer receptive to my own foibles

A harsh headmaster emerges
Who no longer wants to tolerate the behavior of this listless youth
Wandering on and on
Living in dead memory
Photographs from not too long ago


Aaron Lake Smith