I am no good.
No one knows it as well as I do.
Even the world I came into is not so good.
But I haven't done with it as well as I could.
When I talk, people are not improved.
When I talk, people are often less cheerful.
When people talk, I am often less cheerful.
When I succeed, it is on a matter which doesn't make much difference whether I succeed or fail.
I don't know how to insult people: my best insults are under my breath.
I get ordinary ailments.
I think of being distinguished, but I get afraid.
I am a scatterbrain.
Even on the subject of why I am no good, it seems I am a scatterbrain.
Having too much good will, and for too many people, scares me completely.
I am foolish in unknown ways.
My mistakes are monotonous.
I can be bored at the drop of a hat,
And I can bore a person at the drop of a glove.
Poetry has no steady friend in me.
The Renaissance is so far off, it seems like dim water.
I don't know whom I'm talking to, so I talk.
I am a hodge-podge,
And I feel safe because I am a hodge-podge,
But so dissatisfied—
And also so lazy, and so afraid.
From Hail, American Development (Definition Press)
© 1961, 1967 by Eli Siegel