one-word song title sestina #1: wanderlust

London, Cape Town, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Portland, Amsterdam–
places I have never been, would go except for the financial liability,
for the job, for the parents, but the voice of wanderlust whispers
to me all the time at the dawn of August,
setting my workday workweek worklife mind wandering
towards the airport, toward the horizon, toward harmony

with the world, with some new community–harmony
I can’t seem to find here, harmony I want to believe Amsterdam
would bring me (not the marijuana, just the wandering
through Dutch streets without thought of liability
or accountability). But I need to settle into Houstonian August,
no need to travel anywhere, not even school, ignoring the whispers

from the voices in my head that say, “Hear the whisper
of the wind that goes where it wishes, its harmony
singing the songs of the planet, and the August
days pushing you toward somewhere as close as New Amsterdam
and far away as the moon”–but no, there’s too much liability
to my bank account and my sanity at risk to go wandering

over the earth’s surface; I have not been cursed like the wandering
Jew to hold her too dearly beneath my feet, so I whisper
back: “You’re too much, you muses of travel, too much of a liability
for the normalcy I have to embrace these days, disharmonious
with the new rhythm of my life–Rome and Sydney and Amsterdam
still to be pursued, but not now, not this August,

not while I still have Texas and can roll down my windows August
Saturdays with Garrison Keillor on the radio while I wander
through the suburbs in search of something better than Amsterdam,
which is to say, contentment. And when I whisper
in the dark to God I have to ask to be given harmony
with the world as I see it standing here, no fear of liability

to what I’m supposed to do, but the waiting makes me liable
to still go a little stir-crazy, especially in the hot August
days thinking of Scotland 60 degree highs, but now I sing harmony
to the stereo, and let my memory start to wander
towards places I have never been, let the muses whisper
one more time of Rio and Berlin, and yes, even Amsterdam,

before I shut off the radio (Coldplay, “Amsterdam”) and whisper
sweet to the horizon, “One day I’ll hear your harmony, but now I’m liable
to wander in my mind and my hometown alone this August.”

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