Here’s an old poem based on some emails from a woman I “met” about five years back through an online dating service, a very ambitious young Sharon Olds disciple. The “relationship” fizzled after about a month when it became obvious to her that I was more interested in talking about poetry than hopping a bus to her city for a weekend of heavy calisthenics. But she liked the poem, and seemed pleased that I chose to cast it in her voice, so I don’t think I do her any disrespect in reprinting it.
THE FUTURE POET LAUREATE WRITES IN HER JOURNAL
I’ve been so swamped, I took
a mental health day, called in sick.
My poems are dwindling like unused
extra fingers. But the signs
weren’t good: first the car
that wouldn’t start, then no heat
in the apartment. And in between
the therapist saying you have to learn
to let go. Hell, I barely made it
to the appointment. How can I relax
when my mechanic charges twice
as much as my therapist? I ask
the radiator repairman, can’t you fix it
so it doesn’t knock?
I need things to be simpler than they are.
Today my car still isn’t running
& I work eleven hours, 9:00 to 8:00.
After work I’ll rent an old movie
& fall asleep on the couch,
the tattered cushions will take me
as I am, will let me down gently
into their kingdom of spare parts.
I’ll weight my pockets with ballast of coins
& combs, let the missing socks stay missing,
pay no mind to the pens all sticky with ink.