What the Living Do

I remember attending a workshop about five years ago and the presenter had us do an activity with this poem. I had never heard the poem and really loved reading it that day and still have the coffee stained copy that I have kept since that day. I still really like it.  ( Everything I love seems to have coffee stains on it!)  I think each of us could create our own poem with this title.

 What the Living Do

Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably
    fell down there.
And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes
    have piled up

waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we

    spoke of.
It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep headstrong blue, and the sunlight
    pours through

the open living room windows because the heat’s on too high in here, and

    I can’t turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street,
    the bag breaking,

I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying

    along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my
    wrist and sleeve,

I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.

Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called
    that yearning.

What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to
    pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss – we want more and more and
    then more of it.

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the

    window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing
    so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m

I am living, I remember you.
Marie Howe, from her 1998 collection What the Living Do

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous28.4.10

    hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....


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