Quoting myself on this 4th of July

Here is a poem
(And it was f—king hard to write)
Because I’m back from the island
Where we go
To get away from it all
When we are there
I write lots of poems
Because my mind begins to clear
And I begin to accept the ebb and flow
Of life on an island
I spend a lot of my time there on ledges
Looking out at the sea
In a poem I wrote there
Right before we left
I imagined not leaving this time
Just letting my roots sink there
But how if that happened
I would never be able to leave
Because “it would be all wrong /
The mainland I mean /
It would be a fractal mismatch /
It would make me sick and crazy”
I have never quoted myself in a poem before
I have never had any reason to
But I am quoting myself here
On the 4th of July
Because here I am
Back home on “the mainland”
And I can feel both the sickness
And the craziness of this country
That would love to move in on me
And steal away what’s left
Of the island-consciousness
That I managed to bring back with me
I guess you might call it
In my poem I quoted above
I describe it as the condition of
Living in a place
Where “my edges conform
To the ledges and the sea”
But back to the fractal-metaphor
On the mainland I experience
A fractal mismatch
Which feels like little gears grinding
Out of sync
So there is always some tension
Between my inner gears
And the gears of the outside world
Whereas on the island that tension
Was nonexistent
There were still problems
But they were local and
They were not my problems
I felt in tune with the island itself
I don’t know how else to explain this
I just know that I have found peace
On other islands in my life
Namely Inis Mor off the coast of Galway
And Iona
When Covid shut things down
I wrote a few long poems
About my life during the pandemic
They were not really poems as such
But poetic narratives
It was a hard time to process
It was a hard time to write about
In any meaningful way
It was hard to find the metaphors
And I am having the same problem right now
Poetically processing
What I am experiencing
But now that we are emerging from that time
I see that only parts of the world have emerged
And much of the world has not emerged
And needs a lot of help
And I am angered
It deeply distresses me
To be living in a country that seems to have no
Global perspective
No sense of itself in relationship to other nations
I am worried because I have seen
How happy I was on an island
It’s like missing the smell of the sea
Except a hundred times more real than that
It is like I am missing the smell of a better life
And I realize that that abatement of tension
That I describe above
Was only possible when I was off the Mainland
And the fact is
Even Vermont does not heal me that way
The peace I found there was insular
It had to do with
How the physical landscape
Of that tiny island
Conformed to my own fractal-edges
Also I miss living in a place
Where I remember my dreams
People warned us of the heat wave
That was blanketing the east coast
And large swaths of the country
But when we were leaving on the ferry
Something strange happened
Something ominous
Halfway across the sky turned a neutral color
The sea grew leaden
And the air began to heat up
As the land-mass of the continent
Loomed into sight
I felt like an inmate
Voluntarily curtailing his own parole
To return to the gulag
To life behind the (metaphorical) walls behind which
Poetry comes hard
And dreams are rarely remembered
I felt the heaviness of my return
And I began to compare myself to those asylum seekers
Who are routinely turned back from our borders
Who bring fresh dreams
And a vision of hope to this place
But I’m the one they should watch out for
The pissed poet
Who found sanity
For fourteen days
Ten miles out at sea
Off the coast of Maine