On Avoidance

On Avoidance
My to-do checklist
multiplies like protozoa
osmosises and mitosises into
      things to procure
      things to discard
      debts to pay
      mundane tasks
The list glares at me from my phone
      an unblinking eye
            a high pitched tinnitus of
            adult obligations.
      so I subvert my list,
            add nonsense:

  • "sit in the sun: five minutes."
  • "sample 3 kinds of chocolate."
  • "draw a seabird."
  • "sketch a mad genius."
So between the sandpaper-on-bone tasks
      of "callthebank"
I can dutifully check off whimsey
accomplish nonsense
procrastinate responsibly
      and with great satisfaction
            avoid the doing by doing
      and play a counter-harmony
            on the vacuum-drone of my 
                  adult life. 

(This is another poem prompt I gave my students in-class. We read Grace Paley's "The Poet's Occasional Alternative" about the poet avoiding writing poetry by baking a pie because sometimes it's too hard to do something that won't please everybody, that might never find an audience. But... everybody likes pie! I gave them the prompt: write about what you avoid


  1. I love it! I am going to change my list making!

    1. Thanks Carolyn! It's a funny little balancing act, isn't it?


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