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Trash Day

I talk a big game about this poetry practice. Some months are harder than others. Over the years of ebb and flow, I’ve discovered magic in Taking Whatever Comes. There is a cycle of smallness and plainness, yawn-worthy poems followed by surprising gifts. Some days I open the door to a baby on the doorstep, or a bucket of words like pearls. Some days the doorbell never rings. Some days there’s only a pile of old leaves, with rickety edged words mixed in. But the trick is to open the door and welcome all, even the less lovely, rusted buckets of stones and worms and mismatched words. There is a balance inherent here. Only by kindly greeting all who arrive, inviting them in and offering a cool drink, maybe a foot rub, a polishing and a sending forth again whatever words come knocking—only by this welcoming do all the words, both the beautiful and the barnacle-covered, encrusted with polished stone or grubby pockmarked concrete—only by a genuine gladness to see them all do I move forward in this practice, mysterious and goofy, serious fun.

There are two kinds of people on my street.
On Mondays, some of my neighbors
wheel clackety green plastic cans
to the curb. This, a well known cure for too much,
famous for the removal of
What Would Otherwise Rot.
We all need a ritual to dispose of what indisposes us.
The Monday morning journey down the driveway,
in summer or in snow, is one path.
But some of us, by habit or preference,
take away our own burdens, deliver them
weekly to the town dump. I am one of those.
I say a proper and glad farewell
as I accompany my garbage
on its final road trip. We’ve been together for days
Or weeks, but it’s time. I love especially
the part where I drive away alone
lighter, as if I’ve been on one of those weird cleanse diets
The kind that ends on Saturdays.
Then I travel into a new week, as we each do,
a week,this week, every week, full of
Accumulating and Sorting Out
what to Keep
and what to Toss Away

2 responses »

  1. I love ‘only by kindly greeting all who arrive’. It’s the best and only way to practise – and just the same with drawing. Every day’s arrival something new, and if we don’t open the door – what might we miss?! Even the ones that are not the sparkly beautiful thing we were hoping for – they have things to teach we’d otherwise never know. Wisely, beautifully said!

  2. Funny, I don’t tend to think of drawing and painting that way—I think of visual art as more deliberate and planned, to achieve such beauty with skill. Thanks for the reminder that it too is a process and a practise


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