Ron Padgett

The System


I just wrote a rather bad poem,
but at least I’ve gotten it out of my system,
though I don’t know what system
that might be. My nervous system?
Is my system nervous? My aesthetic system?
Is beauty a system? My spirit’s system?
Surely spirit is beyond system. Why
do I say that? Maybe the spirit has a system
or is part of one. But what if that system
is an accident, a chance arrangement
as inchoate as chaos? It would be a system
anyway. System is a word we press up against
to make ourselves have life, a life-support system,
you might say. That is, without words we can’t stay alive.
So I’m glad I am writing this, glad
that I’ve gotten it into my system.