How’s Never?

I’m thinking of going into hiding. I had a great time with some great people over dinner last night and I think I might just end on that high note, don a wig and a beard and disappear.

Remember that New Yorker cartoon where one guy has just been asked by another guy about getting together? They’re on the phone. The guy we can see is saying “How’s Never? Is Never Good for you?” How many times I have wanted to say that in my life!

Thinking this way has me remembering a poem by America’s most kick-ass poet (pardon the language) who I was lucky enough to hear speak twice at Smith College, a pretty kick-ass school. (I’m sorry. It seems to be coming with the mood.)

Here she is now. It’s not cynical at all; the whole last part shows why:

The Art of Disappearing by Naomi Shihab Nye

When they say Don’t I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party

remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.

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