What Are You Doing This Weekend?

November 7, 2009

I am filled with good intentions, overflowing with things I want to do yet never seem to find the time for. My lists have lists. I gather them, clip them together, organize them on iPhone and computer and still cannot accomplish it all. How about you? The benefit of all these longings is that I am never bored, yet I think about them as I face the weekend. There are many things I need to do, but I wonder how to discipline myself to do just a few of the things I long to do, the things that never even make it onto my lists because they don’t really have to be done.

If you’re a dedicated student, this can be a particular challenge for you too since moments spent on relaxation can be guilt-inducing. If you aren’t a dedicated student, letting in a bit of fun can be like poking a hole in a dam—likely to create a flood of frivolity. So I’m stuck. What advice can I give that would fit everyone? I can’t. So here’s what I’ll do instead: indulge myself this weekend and gather up some bits and pieces of poetry and see where they take me. I’ve written about these bits before:

Lost and Found

I have scattered poetry throughout the house,
marked books with it, hidden
couplets and quatrains,
lyrics and limericks,
and solitary lines
among the pages
of my favorite texts.

I have listed the longings of my heart next to
things we need for supper:
artichokes and dreams unlived,
frozen spinach and serenity,
hope and possibility
sandwiched between the
pasta and the peanut butter.

There is poetry tucked away in bathroom cabinets,
jotted on index cards,
slipped into drawers,
written with lip liner and eyebrow pencil,
forgotten under a bottle of peroxide,
and on a soap box
and on an empty toilet paper roll,

My words linger in the kitchen
long after I have left
on the back of a recipe
for chicken cacciatore
that I’ve never tried
and in the margins of my mother’s cookbook,
the one she thought would help her be
a better wife.

If you look into the closet
you’ll find poetry on shoeboxes and
in the pockets of old bathrobes,
and underneath a stack of sweaters,
and in my purse,
the one with the broken zipper
that’s too good to throw away.

But most of all, you’ll find it in my head.

I thought of that poem again today,
the one I’ve never written,
about the weight of a book upon my chest
as I wait for sleep,
the one about sleeplessness and comfort.
the one about the words that weigh me down
release me.

Keep me safe.

I’ll be writing poetry this weekend in my in-betweens, those moments when I long for distraction from things I need to do and have to do and must do. What will you do?

I think you will find that great, historic feats are rare, but the joy of life is made up of obscure and seemingly mundane victories that give us our own small satisfactions, our own personal pleasures, and our own momentary revelations.
• Billy Joel

What are your small satisfactions and personal pleasures?


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