Posts Tagged ‘exhaustion’

One Lackluster

ransacking the stars—
surely some of that shine
will stick to me?

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One Interminable

this day—a sentence
that cannot seem to find
its period

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Today it is enough

to pour the orange juice.

To push down the lever

on the toaster.

To feed the fish and the kids

and water the orchid

and return one call.

A woman could be buried

by all the things

she thinks she should do.

It might take her years

to crawl out from beneath that weight.

And so today

I find refuge in the fact

that I made the bed.

That I was a lap

for a cat.

That I caught a mouse

in the carrot row

and I let him go.

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running and running

but the finish line keeps moving

until at last

the wise voice asks

are you sure this is a race?

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Necessary Respite




Just today I did not fall in love with the long hallway,

or the faithful radiator or the steadfast brick.

I did not fall in love with a calculator or


with lavender soap. I certainly

did not fall for a loyal wooden ladder,

not for a mirror, not for the underappreciated spider,


not for a door, no matter how open it was.

So many chances, lost. So many invitations unanswered.

There are days when the heart forgets its work—


not out of maliciousness, more perhaps, because

it is tired. These are the days when I hope

that I will remember to sit quietly until


once again the heart finds the energy to love itself.

Then it is only a matter of time before it loves again

the red thread, the socks, the chipped blue cup.

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They say opportunity knocks, but then
once it’s in, I’ve seen it punch. Explode.
Manhandle. Demand. Require. Kick.
Throttle. Strangle. Rebuke. Erode.

If only it only knocked, perhaps
I’d be more inclined to answer the door,
but sometimes, once in, it takes all you have,
and then, when you’re spent, it takes more.

*Dear Readers … this is just to say that this is NOT the poem I thought I was sitting down to write, but this is the poem that showed up. And any of you who have taken a class with me know that I am a big fan of the dictum of Jack Mueller, Obey the poem’s emerging form. So I did. I think I almost scared myself with this poem. Enough that I thought twice about sending it out. But here it is …

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And though I can’t remember

what I wrote last night, which seems

like ten years ago, I rattle off,

a body at rest remains at rest and

a body in motion remains in motion

until acted upon by an external force,

and then, mid-sentence, I have some small

fantasy about being a body at rest,

a body at rest that stays at rest, a body

at rest that is somehow entirely unacted upon,

not by breakfast, not by school, not by work,

not by mewling cats or errant bears

traversing the porch, not by nightmares

nor bladder nor hot flash nor chill,

and I think to myself that Newton

was really, really on to something,

some sweet world he posits

that I now long for, a world

where a woman might find

such rest, might be such a body.

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One Trip




driving the back roads

for so long even my songs

are covered in dust

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But I’m Tired

If I weren’t so tired, I’d get out there in that garden
and grow some green beans, stringless and tender
and fleshy. I’d grow some grapes, then peel them
and pass them out to all my friends.

If I weren’t so tired, I’d plant some garlic for my mom.
I’d bake gingerbread men. Houses, too.
And then I would scamper up a mountain
the way goats do, and I’d do all that before noon.

If I weren’t so tired, I’d introduce a goldfish
to a gorilla, and then write a play based on
what they’d say to each other. I’d laminate maps
for migrating geese they could wear around their necks.

Yeah, I think I’d go to the tropics and pick up
all the old tails that geckos had lost and return them
to their owners. And I’d make special pillows
for baby giraffes to land on when they’re born.

So much to do, I’ve got grasshopper mind, jumping
and leaping all the time—from how I might help
the glaciers grow to how I might make the galaxy go
just a little bit slower so that there’s more time

for us all to sleep so we’re not always too tired
to do all the things we want to do. Like grow
some grapes, and peel them, too, then offer them
to good friends like you. Or just wash the dishes,

Or get dressed, make the bed. I would, you know, if …

*This is a G-poem for Lian Canty’s Alphabet Menagerie, http://www.alphabetmenagerie.com

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with thanks to Heather

swimming in this sea
of kindness and generosity
how is it
I sometimes do not notice
I am wet?


ten thousands droplets
escape the pond
in every direction
each time
I throw another stone


oh body, my vessel,
my vase, my cup,
I am sorry I spill you,
don’t fill you


by the pond
the cranes forget
to fly away—
I choose not to throw stones
they choose to stay

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