My gift to you is that I stand still,
regardless of how the world flips and turns,
regardless of how rapidly the marbles
slide from this side to that.
I am here, in this chair, in this room,
My gift to you is that I am your mirror
and the farther you pull away from me,
the clearer you and everything around you becomes.
Then you know you are far away,
and, perhaps then, you know how to come back.
In me, you gather yourself, your sensations,
and I sit motionless.
My gift to you is that I contain everything
and all there is on earth and in your mind,
all commotions, chaos, love, relief, incoherence.
I contain it and preserve it in its original form,
uncatalogued, uncleaned, raw, for your own embrace.
It is here, inside me, for you,
as I sit here, waiting.
My gift to you is that I am empty,
and that no matter how you try to overstuff me
with your naive ambitions and unbidden
nightmares, I will have room for more.
You never have to go anywhere else,
or be anything else, or make anything else.
It is complete, here, in me,
stubborn and still.
This poem was inspired by Victoria Slotto’s Writers’ Fourth Wednesday ’Got change?’ prompt (The Bardo Group, http://intothebardo.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/got-change-writers-fourth-wednesday/). Victoria asks poets to write about how they make change for good in the world. My starting point was Hannah Arendt’s book Men in Dark Times which explores the role of the philosopher when society falls apart.