Poetry Series: How I Become a Place; I, You, They, Us, We
By John Paul Caponigro
How I Become a Place
I eat my home.
I eat my yard.
I eat the place I live.
I put down roots by putting roots in me.
They say we replace the cells in our bodies every seven years.
That means this place has grown me many times over.
We’ve grown together.
I often travel far from home,
and so I take home with me.
Searching all five oceans and all seven continents,
I pass through them,
and they pass through me.
I’m one place becoming another
and many places becoming one.
I savor the places I meet,
not just fruit, not just fiber, also:
air, water, even dirt.
I’m always full and becoming fuller.
I crave intimacy with spaces, so
I consume them and
they consume me.
When I go, I take parts of places with me and
I leave parts of me with them:
my skin, my hair, my scent, my flora, my blood,
my breath, my words, my thoughts, my dreams.
I’m all these and they’re all theirs.
I become a part of them and
they become a part of me.
I can’t read their scriptures wholly, so I digest them.
To live more deeply in them, I put them in me.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, earth to earth.
I was, I am, I will be all these things.
What I’ve taken out of them I’ll return when I rest.
I commit the ground into my body before
I commit my body into the ground.
I, You, They, Us, We
Why must i capitalize i, when
i don’t capitalize you, or
they, or we, or us? If
i had to capitalize just one of
these i’d choose We not i. Or
capitalize them all with
respect. Maybe it’s better
to capitalize none. With words we maintain
barriers built around ourselves and
the our world. It’s not that i want
you to be me or me to
be you. i love the differences. i’d
like to really know them; see
you and be seen by you — truly, hear
you and be heard fully, stop
building too many walls and build more
bridges to beautiful
me you we.
What would happen if we
only used we for
a day, a week, a month, or a year? My joys and
sorrows would be yours. Your joys and
sorrows would be mine. We’d
share a common past, present, and future. Our
time would be ours, not just
yours and not just mine. Imagine
should could would happen if
we stopped calling it it and instead called it we and
each other the whole world us
the future the present i
hope for. i’d like to give this
gift to you, to them, to us, to
we. Will you give this
gift to me, to us, to we?