Another Day of It

It starts early these days – no alarm clock is needed.

First things I hear are the outside sounds coming in –

blue jays and squirrels scratching, scurrying, squawking

wanting their breakfast, the handfuls of peanuts we

toss out for them, and our human neighbors do their

share too, going to work, opening and closing their various

possessions, talking in stage whispers. It starts early

this hill of hours to climb, this ocean of words to cross,

to swim, to paddle, to get over, then thereÕs this endless

string of ideas going nowhere, ideas to trip on, ideas to

choke on, this endless game I play to make the day seem

shorter and not wasted, winner and loser IÕm sitting here

in my own dugout, the catbirdÕs seat, this dunceÕs chair.

As I said, it starts early these days, for some reason it gets

me up, makes me go through the motions, makes me make

these shadow puppets on the wall over my desk, makes me

make them dance and whirl, they Punch and Judy my morning,

give it shape without meaning. It starts early these days and

continues on day after day this way: early, late, somewhere

in between, I know IÕve seen it all before and will again.

 

                    Charity

While hope hangs in a nearby closet

awaiting its relevance, charity hangs

out on the corner, open, public, hand

out, demanding attention. His sign

scrap cardboard, poorly written, poorly 

inked ÒGod BlessÓ and his various needs, 

needs we all recognize as the same ones 

we would feel in his place. His place he

knows fits the seasons, fall now and soon

will be winter, one form of cold for yet

another. HeÕs out there, while his two

companions, faith and hope have found

suitable shelter, ready to be pulled out

when needed. HeÕs out there, hand out

vaguely remembering Paul saying that

he/they would remain forever, but he

confuses his place in the mix, the greatest

Paul said and then left him to this. Another

car goes by with nothing – he gives them

the finger and says his form of amen aloud.

 

                 Matinees

I remember those Saturday matinees.

Those were the days, double features, 

monsters, gangsters, various war stories,

more action than our imaginations, our 

lives needed. So many ways to be heroic 

somewhere else, or victims, the villagers, 

the corpses they created and tripped over. 

We gathered, lined up even, rain or shine, 

whatever our weather could invent for us. 

Thirty-five cents and we were gone, three 

hours, maybe four hours at a time – whole 

afternoons devoured by what Hollywood 

thought of our world, our lives. It would be 

getting dark sometimes when we rushed 

home being pursued by things left over 

from the movies weÕd watch, caught up in 

our escape until we were at home where 

our own very real dangers and monsters 

were still waiting for our return.

 

                           Finishing Up

ItÕs always great when we finally finish, lean back, 

think back to the beginning, survey all weÕve done, 

accomplishments and setbacks, things we would do 

differently if we had only known, things we will do 

differently if ever have to do this again. ItÕs odd how 

we finally get good at something just as it ends. We 

gather together the things we used to do the job, place  

them carefully where they will be ready next time, if 

a next time ever comes. Then we might/can wash up, 

literally and/or figuratively wash away any dirt the task 

left on us. After that we might/can step outside, away

from it all, take a deep breath and begin to wonder what 

weÕll need to do next and what it will demand of us.

© J. K. Durick 

Bio: J. K. Durick is a retired writing teacher and online writing tutor. His latest writing project is writing a poem a day during what seems like this endless pandemic – itÕs in the two hundreds now. His recent poems have appeared in Literary Yard, Black Coffee Review, New Feathers Anthology, Synchronized Chaos, Madswirl, and Highland Park Poetry.