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The Price Of Supplies

Poetry and I have not broken up, but we’ve been far from each other. Pandemic. Slow waking to systemic racism through reading and listening, an awareness of what privilege has let me ignore. The overtly racist rantings of a power-mad, unstable president. Global climate change. Problems more personal and closer to home. All of these. Moments every day when I have to remind myself to breathe. And then remind myself of the luxury to do so.

I believe there are people who can change the world with the power of words. I’m not one of them. Me writing a poem doesn’t change the world. But it changes me. I am a person who often thinks I Know Best if only my child, parent, friend, coworker, neighbor, student would listen to my Excellent Advice. I’m less bossy and more compassionate, more awake, a better listener when I’m writing my poem a day practice.

In hopes of rekindling the spark between me and poetry, I’m taking an online poetry class this week. It’s called Every Day Is A Poem, with Jacqueline Suskin and it’s free this week if you’re inspired to take it too. The class showed up in my social media feed. When I looked up the poet and discovered she makes her living as an itinerant poet who works on a manual typewriter she bought at a flea market, I knew this was a class I wanted.

Here’s hoping I’m working my way back to poetry and poetry is still willing to open the door when I knock. The prompt/lesson for Day One of this class is Be In Awe Of Everything, then go write a poem about it.

The Price Of Office Supplies

The chipmunk who, I hope, lives in the hedge,
but I suspect may live in my cellar–the chipmunk
stored a black walnut under my overturned wheelbarrow.

Yesterday, three dollars
bought me a dozen
spiral ring notebooks
their covers bright hot colors
to wake up words

Not everyone has three dollars.
But those of us who do–
What a deal, what a bargain,
What an awe inspiring chance to record
whatever stirs awe inside you

Deep in this unsettling summer
the three dollar notebook stash slows
and deepens my breath

We all know winter will come
and who knows what she’ll be carrying

We all know winter will come
But me and the chipmunk—
and maybe you–
we’ve stocked the important supplies.

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