I had this idea about iced tea.
Maybe it was the same idea Newton had about gravity.
That everything slips and falls, and that is not necessarily a bad thing
if you do it correctly.
I thought iced tea might not be something I could do correctly anymore.
Not like sailing a ship which I could never do correctly,
or making an apple pie.
Even when I follow the recipe it continues to come out sticky.
If a man drinks too much iced tea
does he become a Confederate
or is that just bigotry run amuck? For many years my wife would ask,
Where do you want to live?
Athens, I would say?
Greece, by the Aegean?
No, I would say. Georgia.
I had become an addict, king of the southern junk,
sweet man of the sweet tea.
It was bad and still is.
This morning I had an idea about falling down—
that if you embrace resistance instead of resisting resistance,
the whole experience of living
is much more sweet than if you put two packets of sugar
into the Earl Grey to boost you through the morning.
Boosting you through the morning would mean falling down—
Newton and his crazy legs, his kooky towers, his little moustache
filled with sparrows.
So, that’s what I tried to be before sunrise, a sparrow
falling out of flight, in mid-air, to migrate somewhere, anywhere,
so I could be right here,
like I am now, writing this,
sweet on my life,
and the sky,
for all of its cloud-cover and snow-bank,
for keeping my mouth out of a barrel of cold darjeerling,
a dash of agave, a smattering of sugar,
a boost of nothing
to boost me through the daylight.
Matthew Lippman is the author of three poetry collections: American Chew, winner of The Burnside Review Book Prize (Burnside Review Book Press, 2013), Monkey Bars (Typecast Publishing, 2010), and The New Year of Yellow, winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Prize (Sarabande Books, 2007). He is the recipient of the 2014 Georgetown Review Prize, the 2014 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Prize, and The Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize from The American Poetry Review.
Photo: “Licorice” by Matthew Klein