Spring 2010

Burning the Bear Suit

Love’s the song, a do-it-yourself-er
     out on the highway,
chord by chord I stand
on the shoulder shredding the light
of day. I shred it. Step by step,
I kick out of the bear suit I was born in.
Lanky and cranky I say:
“I’m a bear. You’re a bear.
I’m a bear. You’re a bear too.”
Pretend is real enough,
and I can’t pretend is real enough.
I have nothing to give,
so you have nothing to get.
I beat you
to the punch, it’s true:
I simply don’t know how to walk
in the woods. When I was younger I could,
I think I did, but now I don’t know anything
about it. What was that?
My hunger lingers on no doubt,
just don’t mistake it for rebellion.
My taste for butter babies goes beyond
the need for vitamins, minerals, and butter.
Now look — now look again —
what I say and what I do is pretty
     damn close.
My sneakers are bruised
and my paws are too.
Wired and sleepy
babies on board go nuts
when they see me. Their eyes bug out
and their laughter is insane. Is it art?
Burn the bear suit.
And everyone is there, at home,
and crowding in a massive plaza,
     or a lonely garage.
The shabby suit, my scrapped heart,
a room I rent, there is only one thing to do —
one thing, one pulse — the thing I am doing.

THOMAS DEVANEY

 

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Bear Day - "I'm a Bear"