I haven’t seen a lot of people in a long time. Good friends, people I love — I think I only see them once a year. J. tells me I’ve taken to being a hermit too much. Should I change? Even my father, the other day, notes how I seemed to detest human contact. Who knows. Somewhere inside my head, Dennis Hopper is alive, saying, “Poor people are crazy, Jack. I’m eccentric.”

I Knew an Eccentric
Helen Conkling

I once knew an eccentric electrician.
We had a lot in common.
He wrote poetry and I did.
We both liked pasta.

His poems were complex.
Reading them was like riding a funnel-shaped wind inward.

Finally, I said, “Don’t show me any more of them
and don’t keep talking about unknown galaxies
and how small we are.
I already know that,” I said.

“And fragile,” he added.

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