Various and Sundry Poetry

the list

i want to tell you about the list.
the list of delayed tactics,
unmade appointments,
oil changes, brake checks, blood checks,
forms to send in, subscriptions cancelled,
the great god-fearing list of what to throw away
and what to keep
from the bookshelf, the closet,
the art bin, the medicine cabinet.
a list of expired pills and razor blades,
things that didn't fit, and glue that didn't stay.
heaps of scraps and scribbles
and all that gets shoved aside
because i just can't fucking bother.

i hate this list.
the agenda-less agenda,
the mulch of daily minutiae.

i say, when it rains, i'll
get to it. when it rains
i'll call the doctor, get the car serviced,
rummage through cabinets for old baking soda,
crackers gone soft, chocolate bar wrappers.
when it rains, i'll...
now you fill in the blanks.

a rainy day, i say. all i need
is a good rainy day and i'll do it.
get it done. when it rains,
i say, watch out.
the collosal spring clean
will come
with a vengeance.

and today, rain,
rain
and no vengeance,
the list bulging at the seams
like always
although today's rain brought a fix-it ticket
from a local cop.
my front plate - missing two years - and yeah,
it's been on my list.

now
embarrassment,
blood in the cheeks, heart pulsing,
a scramble,
the dig through a bulging glove compartment
and apology and
wait, wait, i know it's here,
proof of something i had no proof for,
because i lied to avoid the heavier fine,
and it worked, for a minute,
although then there were hours at the DMV
waiting
waiting
waiting for the number to come up.

i thought of the list then.
my list.
and the price we pay for neglect.

even though i admit i got off easy.
twenty-seven dollars easy.
and the chance to check this one thing off
at last - a small, glorious,
misbegotten victory.