I am NOT a spider on his filament
floating in the sky.
I am NOT the South Pacific
magic island, Bali Hai.
I am NOT John the Baptist
anointing the Messiah.
I am NOT the voice “away out here”
who calls the wind Mariah.
I’m NOT Baby Tuckoo or the moocow
coming down the road,
Nor the wind among the willows
caressing Mr. Toad.
I am NOT that green sea turtle
on a beach in San Diego.
I am NOT the violinist playing
I am NOT the loon upon our lake;
I’m NOT her haunting cry.
I’m NOT the promised Paradise
we hope for when we die.
I had hoped to find out who I was
by naming all I’m NOT,
So, by eliminating all the OTHERS,
find the ME I sought.
As a sculptor chips away,
discarding bits of stone,
I hoped I might reveal at last
my real flesh and bone.
But there are so many things and people
it turns out that I’m NOT,
That I began repeating things I wasn’t
And you can’t say you’re NOT a thing
till you know that thing exists.
So they all must be inside your head
on long, long, “NOT ME” lists.
Naming them was endless... might take
eternities, or worse.
So I just clumped them all together
and said, “I’m NOT the Universe.”
But that left me altogether NOT
in an emptiness profound,
And there my whole search engine failed;
I was nowhere to be found.
So, unhappy being NO THING,
I put that engine in reverse,
And started with the proposition that
I AM the universe.
This seemed a mild improvement
on emptiness and doom.
I knew I must be SOMETHING,
Cogito ergo sum.
But if the universe and I were ONE,
Where does the universe exist?
Might it too be in my head?
Just one thing on that list?
That list of all the things
I thought at first that I was NOT,
Wasn’t a list of THINGS at all;
Each one was just a THOUGHT.
And all those thoughts in aggregate
Made up my universe.
The thoughts about it in your head
ARE your world, of course!
“The eye sees not ITSELF, but by reflection,”
“By some other things.” I AM
that THING LIST in my head.
And so it seemed I’d found myself.
I’d hoped that I could do it.
Green sea turtle, loon and loon song?
I’m all of them. I knew it!
Wind, willows, violinist, Baby Tuckoo, Bali Hai?
Are me! And I am THEM.
Baptist, Messiah, spider adrift?
I AM! I AM! I AM!