Looking For Poems & Ignoring the National Consciousness

We are creatures of routine
And it feels nice to have my own tea again
With our own milk
And sit down in the familiar sounds
Even if my wife rearranged the furniture while we were gone

I’ll be going through my notes this week
But I didn’t write much while we were away

Mostly I read, nothing intense
Just flipping through
& Lonely Planet

It felt strangely good
Not to check email for 4 days
And to have nothing (no device) but a dumb phone

I remember getting an email from my Mother
A few weekends prior
As she was similarly engaged
But she, obviously, still had a laptop and was sending out emails

And I remember reading her email
Which was something about kayaking around a very still lake
And I was like
“Don’t you know the world is on fire?”

I don’t think I replied like that
Just wrote something like, “Nice”

But that’s what I was thinking about while we were away
And I was disconnected from racist riots, nuclear brinkmanship and whatnot

When we came home last night
I guess I got plugged back in
There was a hurricane and my cousin marked himself safe
The lady had wanted to deliver the Ossabaw Island hog
There were a few emails I should have responded to sooner
And there was a lot
A lot
To mark as read
Or delete without opening

I don’t know, but it seems like good practice
To ignore the national consciousness
At least for certain periods

And to not use devices for a certain number of days
To see how your time fills otherwise
Because, you know, it will fill
And you never know what it might fill with
Could be something interesting

Then, after
You can go back to familiar
Sit in your chair (even if it used to be the couch)
Next to the end table and under the light
With the morning crickets and birds and rooster
And drink a few cups of Irish breakfast
Before going through your notes
Looking for poems

I wonder how much I look for poems
(I wonder how much you look)

My wife mutters something unintelligible
Then she repeats herself
“Can you hand me the tissue paper?” she says

I hand it to her
I smile at her
She smiles back

“Why are we so far away?” she says
And she laughs an early morning laugh

I don’t say anything, just smile and
Turn back to the device
Write these words

But behind that
I’m thinking

It’s because you rearranged the furniture

So what I’m trying to say is
I’m always looking for poems

It’s just a matter of finding them

Photo by Bill Shreve


5 thoughts on “Looking For Poems & Ignoring the National Consciousness”

  1. there’s lots of poems for looking for them
    but the best ones live in the rarefied
    jumping for them makes them more so
    but one can get one, it’s possible
    emily wrote them, stevens, ammons
    but don’t cut your heart out trying
    cut out heart poems come by the dozens
    and always read swampy
    two good (rarefied) poems in a lifetime is enough
    even if in secret

    1. Doing my best not to jump… nor cut out my heart 🙂 Mostly, poems smack me in the face, here and there as I’m going about my business, and I don’t even bother to dream of trying to write them. for to live them is enough. maybe I’ll write one or even two like you say… one day… with my feet steady on the ground and my heart well kept in my chest.

  2. Oh, some arrangements can be so tricky, like placing tissue paper too far from the poems, and plopping back into the world where the angles had changed and the light comes in from a different direction, but it still does, as do all those emails. 🙂
    Your image of the peaceful lake and the image of those 80 something year old nursing patients in Houston nursing home, waste deep in water in wheel chairs, somehow all got connected into a poem for me.
    Welcome back.

  3. We drove across the country (Canada). Two weeks with no computers, no papers, mostly no cell service. We drove by fires and they didn’t care if we were informed. We forgot about things for awhile and filled the time with keeping food from the bears.

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