Saturday, May 21, 2011

The art of disappearing

For the 'rapture'...
The art of disappearing is the title of a poem I treasure by Naomi Shiab Nye. I received it from a friend a couple of years ago.  I reflect on the poem often - it expresses something about me.  It's unfortunate that friends take it personally whenever I publish it on the blog, as if I am rejecting them, but it isn't about rejecting any one at all.  I thought of reprinting the poem today for the 'rapture', but I know for sure some would interpret it as a response to their hospitality.  So I won't.  Instead, I'll pretend I can write poetry and make up my own poem instead.
Practiced in the art of disappearing... 
frequently at parties I've excused myself on the pretense
I was stepping out for a moment.
I would get my coat and go out unseen. 
Slipping away to avoid being persuaded to stay. 
Sometimes I didn't want to leave,
but I was never sure how I could remain
without being 'found out'.
I'm not sure I knew what that meant however.
Probably because I never knew what I did.
I must have learned it from my parents.
Sometimes my dad would disappear for months.
Once he pretended he killed himself and left only his wallet on the Wabasha Street bridge.
My mother disappeared a few times as well.
She stayed with other men -
sometimes for a long time.
I never asked them why they did that.
I suppose I was afraid they would do it again.
I left home the same way.
One evening I just disappeared,
walked out without saying good bye.
Seeking what, I never knew,
still a novice in the art of disappearing.
When I grew up,
I once had a lover who disappeared.
That was when I 'found out'...
If you disappear before they do,
you never have to be afraid to discover you are alone.
Art:  Abstract, Gerhard Richter


  1. You wander off whenever you need to. But, remember, there's always a lit candle in the blogging window, to welcome you back to your readers hearts.

    That sounded a bit mushy, well it is poetry corner I suppose.

    I can't make it rhyme,
    coz I don't have the time.
    You, they ain't gonna capture,
    in their soon to be rapture,
    the only news they'll be hearing,
    is of your disappearing.
    They'll look to the sky
    as they wave their goodbye
    but Terry won't be found
    coz he's still on the ground
    just taking time to ponder
    in his temporary wander
    Let's hope he's back quick
    for the spiritually sick!
    He helps us to mend
    when we've gone round the bend!
    As we're tempted to lurch
    he points straight to the Church
    as the answer to our cares
    plus, he offers us his prayers
    encourages us to start again
    by the wise use, of his blogging pen

    The End. (of the ditty, not the world).

  2. Well spoke, Shadowlands, well spoke!

    Thank you, Mr. Nelson. I looked up Ms. Nye's poetry; it will have to wait for this evening, but I foresee a pleasant investigation.

    The last line of your poem - true. Too sadly true.

  3. "Sometimes I didn't want to leave,
    but I was never sure how I could remain
    without being 'found out'.
    I'm not sure I knew what that meant however.
    Probably because I never knew what I did."

    Wow, I thought I was the only one who felt that way.

  4. It's always amazing to me that someone can write so clearly what only you thought you felt.
    It's what makes art such a gift...

  5. Very nice poem..thanks for sharing.

    I've always wondered about folks who just"duck out" and not say goodbye...anywhere from parties to roomies to someone just needing a place to crash for the night.

    I have learned over the years that it's not about me, and not to take it personally...except if they stick me with a really big long-distance phone bill..

    But yeah..I always leave the porch light on, and a guest bedroom with fresh sheets and beer in the fridge.


  6. +JMJ+

    Whenever my family throws a party, I love to stay in my room and listen to the way the sounds of it come to me muffled by my door. And when I'm invited to someone else's house for a party, I tend to mingle with his book collection rather than with his other guests. And then I honestly wonder why nobody ever asks me out on a date. Seriously. I mean, I'm not bad looking, even if I do pass for a Muslim. I'm just shy!

    Then again, a lady I respect once told me about a lady she respected, who liked to say, "Shyness is a mild form of rudeness." That makes sense. Who likes hanging out with rude people, however mild their behaviour?

    PS--I read Nye's poem and loved the line about the cabbage. Then I went to the grocery store, passed the produce aisle, thought of you, and identified myself with a small head of cauliflower. (I bought it and it went really well with my chicken mulligatawny stew. You should let me cook for you one day. I won't make you talk or anything and I'll disappear behind whatever book I'm reading at the time. I promise!)


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