The way I feel sometimes

don’t come round but if you do…

yeah sure, I’ll be in unless I’m out

don’t knock if the lights are out

or you hear voices or then

I might be reading Proust

if someone slips Proust under my door

or one of his bones for my stew,

This is not an apology for those I’ve been ignoring. This is only an attempt at an explanation. I’m not sure if it’s my age that causing my circle of friends to get smaller and smaller, but steadily, over the last number of years, the number of people who call me, and the number of people who I want to call has shrunk. It’s only at moments like these, moments when I am able to come up for air, or moments when I lose another friend, that I realize how isolated I’ve become. The problem is not that I am running out of friends, the problem is that I’m not really bothered by it. I am startled by my lack of feeling on the matter. Lately, with the exception of Lisa, my parents, and one or two others, I’ve had no need to call, or to receive calls from anyone.

and I can’t loan money or

the phone

or what’s left of my car

though you can have yesterday’s newspaper

an old shirt or a bologna sandwich

or sleep on the couch

if you don’t scream at night

and you can talk about yourself

that’s only normal;

hard times are upon us all

Maybe it is my age that I am not calling you anymore. Maybe it’s that I’m not the person you want me to be any longer. Every time you call I can feel you baiting me with the same old stories, the same old inside jokes. I’ve tried, believe me, to play the person you need under those knowing looks of yours. It’s just not me anymore.

only I am not trying to raise a family

to send through Harvard

or buy hunting land,

I am not aiming high

I am only trying to keep myself alive

just a little longer,

so if you sometimes knock

and I don’t answer

and there isn’t a woman in here

maybe I have broken my jaw

and am looking for wire

or I am chasing the butterflies in

my wallpaper,

It could be my work. I spend five hours a day talking to class of level three immigrants, trying to help them understand me. And when I get home, I have no more words left. I don’t want to speak. I don’t want to listen. I get your message, but all I want to do is sit and write or watch TV.

I mean if I don’t answer

I don’t answer, and the reason is

that I am not yet ready to kill you

or love you, or even accept you,

it means I don’t want to talk

I am busy, I am mad, I am glad

or maybe I’m stringing up a rope;

so even if the lights are on

and you hear sound

like breathing or praying or singing

a radio or the roll of dice

or typing –

Do you really need to talk to someone this badly? What do you get out of it? What’s wrong with simply being alone? Why do you always need to have someone around, another presence in the room with you, another voice on the phone to hear you breathe?

go away, it is not the day

the night, the hour;

it is not the ignorance of impoliteness,

I wish to hurt nothing, not even a bug

but sometimes I gather evidence of a kind

that takes some sorting,

and your blue eyes, be they blue

and your hair, if you have some

or your mind – they cannot enter

until the rope is cut or knotted

or until I have shaven into

new mirrors, until the world is

stopped or opened


I’m not sure what it is. It could be apathy or agoraphobia. You might think I am selfish, but I help the world in my own way. With my teaching, I help people get accustomed to a new life and a new country. With this website, I help artists around the country and world get acquainted.

Because I don’t wish to speak to you means nothing. What does talk beget but only more talk. You only want to hear your own voice to justify your own anguish. Clime a mountain, walk on the moon, sail the world, or watch Oprah.

But please, tonight, like every other night, there is something in the silence that can solve me. There is something in the emptiness that I find soothing. So please, for now, just let me be.

Rocco de Giacomo

The poem used in this article is “don’t come around but if you do…” by Charles Bukowski