Poem for My Feet

Listen to Wes McNair Reading the Poem
Poem for My Feet Initial Exploration
O feet, when they called me “Beanstalk”
at 14, meaning my body was what suddenly happened
after the planting of magic beans, my arms
startled branches, my head looking down from the sky,
I scarcely heard, stunned as I was by what magic
had done overnight to you. Bad enough I now owned a penis
so unpredictable I had to put books
on it walking down school halls. I had your long
arches and toes which, whatever I put on them, stuck out
all the more. Great pedicles, those first cordovans
were the worst, deep maroon dream shoes
that floated footless on their page in the catalogue
I ordered from, and arrived dead weights
in a huge box, so red and shiny
and durable, their names lasted through two years
of high school: Clodhoppers, Platters, Skis.
And years later, when I took you to dinner parties
where they were too polite to name you
and just stopped talking altogether—when I sat
with legs crossed holding my teacup in that parlor
in Chile and suddenly noticed the small people
seated around me were staring at how the pulse
lifted my big foot as it hung there in front of them,
was I any better off? How could I tell them
that I understood they had all they could do
not to begin crossing themselves right there,
that inside my foot and my outsized body,
I only wanted to be small, too? But peace,
old toe-lifters, if I couldn’t accept you then,
if just last month I stood barefoot before my family
and called you in jest my Oscar-Mayer five-packs
wiggling a big toe while singing, as in
the commercial, “I wish I were an Oscar-Mayer wiener,
forgive the bad joke and the accusations, this
has never been your fault. Uncovered with fitting in,
all you ever wanted was to take me in the direction
of my own choosing. Never mind the hands
getting all the attention as they wave to others
on the street, this is not their poem,
but only yours, steady vessels, who all along
have resisted my desire to be like everyone else,
who turn after the hands are done and carry me
with resolute steps into my separate life.
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Transcript 1

   
Transitions and Structure
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Transcript 2

   
Endings and Line Breaks
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Transcript 3