I am almost there. There is a stack of paper. It is shining in the sun. The world sends its rejection slips And they call it an economy. Feel the rejection slip. It is cool to the touch. Now look at it. Keep looking. Stare at it until your forehead throbs. It is only a definitive response. There is no stranger in it. The world sends its fortune cookies And calls them encouragement. "You are almost there." The present belongs to those who are present. Apparently I am not quite present. Neither am I checked out. I am a reader of poetry, not history. It is an almost-thereness, a parallel la-di-da. I read so much poetry I grow gills. As for writing it, I once had an idea To be a cold war government. To flood the enemy market With counterfeit currency. Now I think I'd rather live Somewhere in that other land, Maybe find work as a teacher Of the poetry of my youth as a second language. I'd do more good writing Esperanto greeting cards. Still. My modus operandi has been: to persist. To believe: I am almost there. I just have to get to the end of this treadmill.