1. Finish planting the variegated sage, Russian and blue kales, and leaf lettuces of chartreuse, butter crunch, and red-green Matisse cut-out, small oak hands. If too tired, at least free the snarled roots from black-plastic squares.
  2. Junk drawer number one. Dump contents. Separate coins from paperclips from pens. Look for stray buttons, the bottle opener.
  3. Call your mother. Hope to hear your deceased father’s recorded voice.
  4. Coax the dog, apprehensive of storm, outside by announcing “CAR”—and walk him briskly in the steady, light rain–to the field. Crane the neck back slowly to confirm hypothesized dearth of star.
  5. Peel and chop the fresh ginger from the inner-city market. Don’t think about the altercation. Boil. Drink from the French bowl-mug, blue hands wrapped around it and warmed—in the largest chair of the House—knowing the hot broth tastes a million times better than the boiled slime of flax seed your father had to drink for his stomach all those years ago. HE never complained.
  6. Sock puppet number seven. Choose large black buttons from the bequeathed tin. Sew them on the stranded fleece lavender sock–a bit crooked. The children will like that.
  7. Soak in baking soda in the bath for the reoccurring rash. Then add lavender oil. Then slip under, hold your breath, hair free seaweed. Yes, pretend the sea. Pretend everything.
  8. Find the worn cardboard box of photographs in your study—fifty years heaped into random piles. Look once more for the new album.  The one you bought after the one you tore apart for the oleaginous, retro photograph paper.  Make a note to find the hinges.
  9. Junk drawer number two. Separate the take-out menus from tape measures, tools. Candles from playing cards. Return the stray nails back to the flipped over plastic divider. Look for the pipe cleaners. Remember you need to buy some bright-colored ones for new sock puppets.
  10. Don’t call your mother. Imagine what she would retort.
  11. Read a few more short sections from where you left off in Italo Calvino’s INVISIBLE CITIES—or the next handful of pages in THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN. Try to make it to the end of the second person before sleep takes you.
  12. Sock puppet number eight. Fashion round eye glasses from the largest buttons you can uncover from the antique tin with a woman in yellow reading on its lid, the one your mother knew you would like. Cut hair from the tan yarn from your mother’s mother whom you couldn’t tell you didn’t, at that time, knit. Attach glasses and long yarn-hair on the solo light pink, cabled sock–with school glue purchased yesterday to fasten the two broken clay pots. Congratulate on the great job you did gluing the square terra cotta one that cracked in half under the snow. Cut yourself some slack for not bringing it into the garage (there was no room, remind yourself) or the cellar as it gets heavier by the month. Yes, a nice job with the level-two plan of new KRAZY GLUE and filler of potting soil. It’s now pink and white like the favorite, old brick house in the Historical District. And how fitting—it looks Italian with its weathering and patina sheen.
  13. Read a little Rilke, play a few Bach Suites, read a little Rumi, play a bit of Chopin—the Noturne pieces, read a bit of Tagore, play a bit of Satie until it has become too sad, read a bit of Virginia Woolf. THE WAVES or TO THE LIGHTHOUSE. Flip a coin. Let fate decide Everything.



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4 Responses to DISTRACTION[S]

  1. Love the rhythm: read a little Rilke, play a few Bach suites, read a little Rumi, play a bit of Chopin . . . I will take this as prescriptive!

  2. Ron Byrd says:

    You wrote yourself into this one ..I like it a great deal !

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