I’m comfortable with awkwardness… I think…

awkward-1Awkwardness is not the same thing as being uncomfortable; I know both – you know both – we all know both, and living out-of-step (awkwardness) is more subtle than dis-ease (being uncomfortable).

Yes, ‘That was awkward,” is a snobbish opinion of superiority ( or ‘weirded out’ as in aaawwwwwwk-wwwaaaard), as if no one – especially me – should ever feel this way, and everyone and everything exists to make me comfortable and happy. And just about every dictionary lists ‘awkward’ and ‘uncomfortable’ as synonyms. But they don’t have to be.

Being or feeling uncomfortable is a response – how we interpret what can be experienced, but it doesn’t have to be seen that way or treated that way. It’s up to you, and I can’t help you with that. ‘Awkward’ is what makes us uncomfortable, or not, but it’s still awkward. We don’t have to react with shunning, creating an unfriendly distance, or self-preserving alienation when experiencing what is obviously awkward. Instead, we may be attracted to it, embrace and befriend and comfort with unassuming familiarity. Loving awkward is what love means after all.

But this is not a philosophical tract on the subject; I do not pretend to divert attention with innumerable circles-within-circles of self-absorption. I only pretend to believe that while awkwardness will always be with us, uncomfortable is curable.

Feeling Religious

There are times, quite often to be honest,
when the incurable need for the incurable
is all that satisfied; when the smoke
of incense spins in the dusty air of a shaft
of light pouring through stained glass,
that muskiness passively in the nose;
cicadas singing on a hot summer day
as mourners mumble Psalm 23 together,
heads bowed sadly in awkwardness;
the bristle of a wool school sweater
against an arm aching for the air of recess,
ready to throw off what must be worn;
hurried steps to the horizon of the tunnel
and first glimpse of the crisscross cut
of the outfield grass, smell of stale beer,
as peanut shells crunching underfoot;
and being near enough and still welcome,
not ignored when walking together,
satisfied with not remembering time before
except through the we of every day, and
what it is about you that won’t wash off.


Chili on a Fine Day

Today a man wearing a brown coat
on a fine day sat at the counter
and ordered chili
even though the server
recommended he shouldn’t;
any one of the regulars could have told him
not to order it here,
for while there were several fine menu items,
like the BLT, meat loaf and even
a good tuna melt,
chili, here, has never been a good choice;
yet he wouldn’t have listened anyway
because he seemed like the kind of person
who was looking for something
to help ruin
what was a fine day for everyone else
but troubled for him,
and the chili helped.


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