A Giant Lived on A Broken Down School Bus in the Woods, A Poem by Chris Russell

A giant lived on a broken down school bus in the woods by our house

and the blue sky above was the inside of a head.

I believed that a tornado could really carry you to a place like Oz

if it was tight enough,

and that there everything could be turned into something golden.

Once I even tried to blow up a creek with cherry bombs

thinking the explosion would turn the streambed to crystal.

I loved the idea of the jewel hidden inside.

I thought I was like that.

I even tried flying in my sleep and got pretty close too,

because when I awoke for real the room would make a humming sound

and the television would sort of snap back into shape.

As far back as I can remember

I was trying to move through what was familiar to me

and become empowered by being less.

With imagination as my body I could do anything.

Until once in a dream I flew into a crabapple tree

and couldn’t get out for a while.

I told myself sometimes being a prisoner is needed

in order to learn how to transcend attachment.

Then I wanted to be like my grandfather

who I used to think was like a druid who was above power,

who put all his energy into picking strawberries with us kids,

because he thought you should let yourself be a garden for others

as a counterbalance for inherent greed,

and that being picked clean by needy hands is a service to humanity.

So what happened?

Because now I look in the mirror

and rather than seeing myself as a saint with dentures

cleaning out Fig Newton’s with a toothbrush, a humble spot

of cancer just beginning to beg for money under my eye,

I see someone way better:

A middle aged man whose eyes can barely stay open with a beard

that looks like it got loose from the ocean,

and I feel sore all over in a way I can’t describe,

but will try anyway when I compare it to being beaten all over by fairies

all day,

or more likely, poked excessively,

because they shouldn’t have to find it so difficult to get my attention.

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