TO MY ABOUT-TO-BE-EX THERAPIST
About our session this afternoon, I’m confused:
you diagnosed my ergophobia with sadness
in your voice. No offense, but after 40 years
of Type-A overdrive, I’ve earned this new paradigm.
Put this in your notes: I’ve replaced chronic threats
of nothing-to-do with perfected laziness.
My fear of boredom? Relieved by mindfulness.
From my ergonomic chair, I spend hours
tracing the texture of walls and studying
slight tilts of Chinese serigraphs.
I’m happy to report the woman side-saddling
the panther’s back hasn’t slipped off yet
and the lotus pond hasn’t flooded our family room.
As for the cobwebs swaying behind the étagère?
They haven’t ceased to captivate. Anyway,
thanks for helping me define work as what
I say it is. My business suits and black pumps
are up for grabs at Goodwill; my office files
free of contracts, flight plans, and syllabi.
I’m noodling with a blog about the joys
of nothing much. Maybe you’ll subscribe.
DEAR BILLY COLLINS
If I told you I have four collections of my own,
you would politely nod and act impressed –
you with your fifteen, reams of awards,
and videos on well-lit platforms
where you never need to adjust the mic
because its height is designed for you –
as is the lectern and semi-comfortable chair
where you sit with a practiced host
who asks questions I’ve memorized the answers to.
That’s because I’ve tracked your You-Tube clips
repeatedly for insights, inspirations or,
if Truth nudges me hard enough, excuses
to avoid Googling great cities of the world
for images to upscale a mediocre poem
that refuses to say where it wants to go.
You, on the other hand, never fail to disappoint –
like the feral cat who strolls across
the patio and swats the sliding door
or the flicker who delights in my suet cake.
I count on certain things: that noncommittal pet,
an orange feather lying in the grass, and your glasses
that may – or not – stay on your nose
while you read from The Rain in Portugal
or from Sailing Alone Around a Room –
a nautical activity, I’m not ashamed
to admit, I practice when no one’s home.