The New Experience

Suzanne Buffam

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I was ready for a new experience.

All the old ones had burned out.


They lay in little ashy heaps along the roadside

And blew in drifts across the fairgrounds and fields.


From a distance some appeared to be smouldering

But when I approached with my hat in my hands


They let out small puffs of smoke and expired.

Through the windows of houses I saw lives lit up


With the otherworldly glow of TV

And these were smoking a little bit too.


I flew to Rome. I flew to Greece.

I sat on a rock in the shade of the Acropolis


And conjured dusky columns in the clouds.

I watched waves lap the crumbling coast.


I heard wind strip the woods.

I saw the last living snow leopard


Pacing in the dirt. Experience taught me

That nothing worth doing is worth doing


For the sake of experience alone.

I bit into an apple that tasted sweetly of time.


The sun came out. It was the old sun

With only a few billion years left to shine.

Suzanne Buffam, “The New Experience” from The Irrationalist. Copyright © 2010 by Suzanne Buffam. Reprinted by permission of House of Anansi Press.

Source: The Irrationalist (House of Anansi Press, 2010).