Thursday, August 24, 2006

Poem for Poetry Thursday

The slump continues. But unlike the Red Sox, I see an end in sight.

I wrote this poem in May, and it happens to fit today's prompt.


Time Map

Which letter to write
Which book to read
Which room in the house to clean
and how deeply
Which window to open to allow in the most breeze
Which cloud, which curve of the air
Which lawns have the most dandelions punctuating the grass
like ellipses, what gets said, what’s left out
Which lawns, besides ours, have no nutritional value
Which forsythia branches to clip
Which sticks to bundle for rubbish
Which ones to adorn the living room mantle
next to the wedding photo,
the crystal egg, the clock with its incessant ticking
Which neighbor will drop by with our misdelivered mail
Which neighbors won’t say hi when I stand in the front yard,
with their small lots and big fat driveways
Which ones think my grass is greener
Which Cheetos to eat as my son counts them in the bag
with his cheesy little fingers
Which happiness, too many to choose




I should also mention that a Time Map is a term used by Professional Organizer Julie Morgenstern. It’s like a budget for your time where you manage your activities on a chart. (Here’s an example of a Time Map. Scroll down the page to view it.)

For more poems, visit Poetry Thursday!

16 comments:

FatCharlatan said...

Great twist on "Time Map." This poem works so well because the images come barreling at the reader at such a steady clip (mimicking the endless "to-do" lists we all have) yet ending on such a fun, positive note (counting Cheetos, realizing happiness abounds) that slows down the poem just enough for both the speaker and the reader.

Some stand-out lines:
"Which lawns have the most dandelions punctuating/
the grass
like ellipses, what gets said, what’s left out"

and "which ones think my grass is greener" (for its double meaning--nice!)

I always enjoy reading your work, January...I learn from studying you!

Thanks for sharing this.

Peace,
FC

jillypoet said...

These are all such great images. Truly these are the things, the "which ones" that go through a mom's head (at least mine) in random, non-stop order all day long. I like the rhythm of this poem. Like a metronome. Nice!

Deb R said...

I love the idea of a Time Map as an inspiration for a poem and you did a fabulous job with it. The images are wonderful and feel so true to life. I love how it slides from esoteric to everyday and from hurt or envy to innocent happiness.

Kamsin said...

What a lovely list of choices! Great poem!

Nic said...

Nice twist, very enjoyable. Best image was (were?) the punctuating dandelions. Always a pleasure to read your stuff.

LJCohen said...

I like the concrete reality of this. Particularly this section and the way you move from the yard imagery to relationships:

"Which sticks to bundle for rubbish
Which ones to adorn the living room mantle
next to the wedding photo,
the crystal egg, the clock with its incessant ticking
Which neighbor will drop by with our misdelivered mail
Which neighbors won’t say hi when I stand in the front yard,"

bb said...

oh i started to snigger at the first line - the self recognition in this poem came early on...

i think you've just inspired me to write a list poem - good work!

p.s. i had a peek at the time map. looked sheer exhausting ;-O

jim said...

Funny, how time becomes space here, locations and not so much about events.

Terrific cataloguing, and smart in all the ways everyone else has praised the smart smartness in your poem.

January said...

Thanks for the kind words. Hope to write something new in the next day or so.

And I did make my own time map. Once. It was much more fun making it that actually doing it.

Alexandra G said...

What a beautiful, beautiful poem. Wow.... and that last line, there are so many to choose from , so many OVERlooked ones too. I also loved the poem you have about where you are from. Thank you for visiting me at my site. I have been not so good lately about reading lately and I miss my blogging pals such as yourself! Do keep writing your poems as they are powerfully written and beautiful.

wendylou who? said...

hi January...having a bit of trouble posting my praises for your poem...Because It was good...I'll try again...Which happiness. Simple. True. Abundant.

which room..and how deeply.!!!HA HA HA Ha....i would write this in dust if you were here. Nice job. I knew you would do a nice job with this.

Superhero Activist said...

I love how time becomes enmeshed within choice, that every second of every day we are giving meaning to this metaphysical concept of time through our immediate actions, giving it shape and form through deed and thought.

I do so enjoy reading your poetry from one week to the next.

twitches said...

I really like poems like this, all those personal details that make the reader feel they are really being let into a life, and also has something in common with the author. I like the listing aspect, too.

paris parfait said...

Your poem resonates in a world pressed for time, with too many choices. I mean do we really need 37 kinds of cereal in the supermarket or 50 kinds of tea? Love the details and double entendre, i.e. "which neighbors won't say hi when I stand in the front yard," and "Which ones think my grass is greener."

pepektheassassin said...

Oh, Geez, january. I have never been able to budget ANYTHING. Not time, not money. The very thought of making to-do lists gives me the willies. I'm sure I'd get more done if I were more organized and made lists, but, o well.... The lady with the Time Map sort of made my skin crawl, like chalk screeching on a blackboard.

But I loved your list!

Dani said...

This poem captured my daily dilemma. There are so many worthy choices -- which one should I turn my attention to?

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