Learning to Feel

Learning to Feel by Gene Twaronite

First we must learn
to read the signals
then record them
in neural maps
of the self
to tell us which
emoticons to use

Some things are
easy to read
like two old friends
anger and fear
who barge in
without notice
and never want
to leave

Growing older
we learn to read
more complex signs
as the map grows
bigger and the self
moves out into
the world

We learn guilt
and shame
noting their every
stinging detail
learning how
to finesse
and suppress them
when the cost of
feeling becomes
too dear

We learn what
love is by
the marks it
leaves on us

We learn to
feel the pain
of another
and how to
make it ours

We learn to
listen for
the gentle rap
when joy
comes calling

And I will learn
when you are gone
there are
no signals
to tell me
what to feel

First published in The Journal of Undiscovered Poets, Issue #2 https://issuu.com/jlederman/docs/j2_final?fr=sM2EyZDI5ODMyNzU