Poetry

120.

It’s funny
how work and life end up influencing each other.
I mean, one is part of the other, and sometimes,
when you’re lucky,
you spend your life doing work you enjoy.
So they can become intertwined.
Anyway, before I accidentally advocate for
an unhealthy balance,
let me just say
I was inspired by some of my work today,
and it’s got me rethinking
what I’m capable of, and
what I can do with myself.
Things are going to get a lot better.
This will take a lot of work,
outside of work,
but I want to
enhance my pastimes.
That’s my fancy way of saying
I’m going to overhaul
my little piece of the internet.
This blog,
it’s
not great.
It’s not terrible, either,
but it can definitely be
augmented for the better.
I’m going to make that happen,
so I ask anyone who’s reading (probably not very many people, to be honest)
to bear with me in the weeks ahead.
This is a poetic version
of an update
and a promise,
and it’s hilarious
that it falls within my year of poems,
because
outside of this very specific blog context,
this won’t make a lot of sense.
Oh well.
If these ever go anywhere,
I’ll chuckle when I get to this one.
Thanks, whoever you are.

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Poetry

119.

Alarm didn’t go off today,
so I slept a lot
and when I finally looked at the clock,
I flipped for a second and thought
“Oh shit, I’m late for work.”
But I was already at work.
Lockdown be blessed in a few ways,
and avoiding any commute
is one of the good effects.
I’m still not sure that I’m doing enough work,
but I must acknowledge
that I’m a pro at moving my own goalposts.
If I’m never good enough for myself,
how will I ever be good enough for someone else?
I’m trying
to go a little easier on me.
To appreciate all my efforts,
and be thankful that I even want to try.
Self love, you and I
will get us through this.

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Poetry

118.

How can I
even begin to describe a song that has taken me
to a new mental space,
and given me
a new emotional face,
how do I convey to random passersby (not in the time of Corona, of course)
the way my head needs to bob,
and my feet need to move,
and the intense urge to stand up and run,
this immense energy has been bequeathed to me
by a master notesmith
and I am but a puppet to their strings,
so I direct a solo music video in my head
wherein I walk down the street real calm,
real slow,
and real deliberate-like,
my head begins to move,
and my feet shuffle side to side,
picking up speed and building in variations,
until the vocals pop in
and I leap from the sidewalk
to fling my arms about,
because this shit is fucking bomb, yo,
and I have to let everyone know.

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Poetry

117.

This intricate
mess of things I’ve accumulated,
habits, projects, practices, pastimes,
they’re one quick gust away
from toppling to the ground.
I say
I’ll wake up early one day,
and I sleep in;
I say
I’ll work this many hours one day,
and I download Sudoku instead;
I say
I’ll check everything off my little to-do list,
and I let the internet take me away.

I’m not condemning the internet,
I’m lamenting my seeming inability to block out its siren song.

I’m not sure, anymore,
how to quantify productivity.
Not sure how to qualify it, either,
since quality tends to be preferable to quantity.
How much did I get done yesterday?
How much of it is valuable?

This is a bad time for perfectionists.
I’d like my shoddy attempts at taking steps
to count toward something – at least,
to be perceived as a move on my journey of betterment.

Away, perfectionist Machiavellian mind, I need
to focus solely on the means; forget the ends,
and move, just move,
just

do the damn work, man.

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Poetry

116.

Thinking back to the old days, I
ordered a giant sub sandwich and told myself
“I’ll save half for later.”
Partway through the first half, my brain said
“I don’t think you can finish this, man.”
The giant sub is 16 inches long.
One half is 8 inches of sandwich.
My stomach started protesting somewhere around 4.

I forget
that I used to walk around the office building frequently,
and I took breaks
to step outside and climb the hill overlooking campus.
Hell, that hill overlooks most of the city.
It provides a nice view, and getting there
is a decent trek for a guy who usually sits at home
to play video games or read books.

What I’m trying to say is,
I don’t need to eat nearly as much as I used to,
thanks to the ultra-sedentary quarantine mode of life.
So a small sub sandwich is all I need, for now.

Cool thing is,
I have a lot of leftovers to stretch through the weekend.
Next time I need to take a break from remote work,
I think I’ll
step outside for a long stroll.

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Poetry

115.

Will there be a place
for all the hours that I misplace
with this mask upon my face?

I apologize for the shoddy rhymes,
but I’ve spent too much time
playing Sudoku on my computer
and avoiding remote work.
I really need to get a hold of myself,
lest I forget what it means to sweat.

No work and all distraction
makes Jack an anxious boy.
“I’ll do extra work tomorrow,
I’ll
put in extra hours this weekend.”
What is a weekend nowadays, anyway?
I’ve sent the same general email to my people two weeks in a row:

Sorry, I took [insert random weekday here] off to recuperate,
I’ll work this weekend to make up for it.

I still haven’t worked on the weekend.
But I’m something like twenty hours behind now, so,
here’s to the weekend warrior I will now summon into my being.

I’m forgetting,

I’m

forgetting what it felt like to be productive.
What is that feeling?
How do I know when I’ve done enough?

I didn’t know
I needed people so badly,
but it seems
I can’t keep myself on task alone, I can’t
keep myself on task by myself, I can’t
summon the willpower necessary to even maintain a rough schedule anymore.

I stay up late
I sleep in
I respond to emails hours after they entered my inbox
I play Animal Crossing in the middle of the day
I half-heartedly do sit-ups
I make a bowl of soup with a scowl
I relish the minute it takes to walk to the dumpster
and toss the trash in it
I am sick of my excuses
I am sick of my hiding places
I am sick of my defenses
I miss being anxious for a good reason
I miss being vulnerable
I miss real people
I miss checking in with my coworkers
I miss laughing about random bullshit in the company of other people
I miss the office
dear God, I miss the office
I think I miss driving
I miss shitty fast food escapades
I miss walking to the corner store without a mask on
I miss real faces
I miss real voices
I miss expressing doubts about the efficacy of my choices
I miss
I miss
I miss
fuck,

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Poetry

114.

Maybe it’s all the coffee I drink
out of boredom,
maybe it’s all the websites I check
out of boredom,
maybe it’s all the thoughts I think
out of boredom,
but I
am damn tired of work.

I dreaded getting out of bed today
’cause I couldn’t stand the thought of
logging into my work computer
remotely,
I couldn’t even remotely stand that thought.

I felt much better when I
decided to sleep in instead
and push work off until the weekend.

I know that I’m only delaying my discomfort.

It is truly a bummer that I
need to amass reams of green paper to shore up my
shoddy cardboard walls,
but the box I rent keeps me relatively comfortable.
The walls are better than cardboard, of course, but
these days privacy is paper thin.

Can I push myself to do it?
Will I log in tonight?
Even an hour, just one hour of work
logged for today,
will keep me on my rough track.

I want to take capitalism back.
But buying, not making, is my sad normal state
for now.

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Poetry

113.

It’s tough to grow
anything substantial
in messed up soil,
and today I remind myself
that the mind is my soil for growth.

When I wish to plant the seeds of a better future,
I first
must check the state of my thoughts.
Do I feel stagnant? Listless? Unmotivated?
If so, why?
A lot of the time
these negative feelings are rotting leaves
clinging to the stems and the trunks
of fruit I planted in self-defeating thoughts.

Rotten thoughts, rotten fruit.
Not much good will come of them.
I need to till the soil
and refresh my mental fields
before I start a new garden.
When the mind is sick,
its roots reach my heart
and I feel wretched.

Sunshine, water, free-flowing air –
these warm and positive nutrients
shall make my garden grow.
I’ll sow the seeds of the future
with patience, kindness, and understanding
so I may blossom in time.

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Poetry

112.

Another day of work done,
another day of wondering if I accomplished enough.
This is the stuff that anxiety is made of,
and it’s funny that working from home would do this to me.

I know I shouldn’t be flippant.
I have work. I have money coming in.
I am, above all else, a fortunate and lucky man.

I appreciate my livelihood. I think that what I do is good.
It is just hard to sit here,
on the computer that I also use for fun
(video games, music, YouTube, blogging, oh my),
and crank out work without distracting myself.

I mean, it’s not like I
was incredibly focused at the office, either.
Now, though, every minute feels watched,
every task feels recorded,
everything is veiled in a weird Big Brother vibe
that I certainly do not enjoy.

I get it. They want to know that I did what I said I did.
But isn’t the finished product enough?

I know what my problem is.
I’m not as productive as I could be.
But what is productivity?
Do I need to beat my fists against the keyboard until
a million science lessons burst forth?
Good work takes time.
But everyone wants it fast.

Okay, I’m stretching the truth.
No one wants it fast.
I am just worried
that if I don’t deliver results with expedience,
then a different word that starts with ex becomes my descriptor.

Expendable.

I am merely worried about relevance.
I tend to hate quotas. But I’ve got to prove my worth, lest I
get lost in some organizational shuffle.
So I hold myself to some ridiculous standard,
and I try to do well.

I wish that the trying was enough.
What. The fuck. Have I. Accomplished?

Thank you, this has been me
running around my brain and beating myself up.
It’s time to relax. Forget about work, if only
for the evening.

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Poetry

111.

In a goofy misquote
I said something like
“Please turn off thy magic beams,”
and my brain jumped to “thigh magic”
so now I imagine a soft undulation of flesh
and a gentle dance beneath the sheets
(or on top of them),
night rhythms leading us both in their spell,
this is one trance I enter willingly,
yet it really is no trance,
I am a master of my movements
(in this sport at least)
and I perform very well.
Alas, to have this duet down pat,
yet no partner with whom to dance.
I realize I am complaining now.
I also realize
this dance need not be a mere duet,
but something more expansive, more inclusive,
many partners all moving in their own times,
it is a wonderful vision
and I am glad to see it.
Only in my mind’s eye, however;
I fight for those who enjoy the many-limbed throng,
a legion of lust and love,
sensual granfalloon,
but I do not join the throng myself.
When I can find a dance partner I
prefer to stick to the one person,
and nowadays,
I dance alone.
It is not so terrible, though I must admit,
I miss the intricacies
of thigh magic.
One day
or night
or uncategorized time,
I’ll perform those lovely rituals
again and again.

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