"With the certitude of a true believer, Vellya Paapen had assured the twins that there was no such thing in the world as a black cat. He said that there were only black, cat-shaped holes in the universe."
-- Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Poetic Mess

There’s really no reason for this.

This mess I’m in, mostly literal, is all my fault.  I know how to be tidy.  When I’m a mess, it’s generally because I choose it.  97% of my time I go around washing things and wiping things and stacking things and straightening things… on bad days I do it over and over.  Right angles.  Line it up.  Must have order.  But then there’s that 3%. 

Once in a while, I make a mess.  A big one.  If you’re going to do something, do it right.  The floors become filthy, the dishes play Jenga in the sink, there is an unplanned haphazardness to the items on the coffee table.  Things lie where they fall.  Objects that seldom move suddenly change rooms.  At first, I am simply ignoring the mess.  And then I am appreciating it.  And then… I am actively contributing to the chaos.

We have entered the 3%.  Point of reference:  I have recently lost my desk.

I would like to point out, in my defense, that the wine glasses have accumulated
over the course of days and one of them actually only contained cranberry juice. 
Though, yes, that one that’s precariously perched on the edge of my desk
by the tape measure, is in fact half full (optimist!) of wine.

Eventually, of course, I will clean.  And it will be glorious.  Cleaning turns into cleaning out.  Straightening bookshelves turns into rearranging furniture.  Sometimes, I emerge from the mess into a brand new house.

But before I become the Goddess of Cleanliness and reclaim the home that is rightfully mine… I have to freak out a little bit.  It’s a natural part of the process.  I see the mess, finally truly see it for what it is, assess how much work it will take to remedy it (and then assess again more rationally) and then have a small panic attack.  What have I done?  How did I let this go on for so long?  Where is the cat?  Then I deal with my panic attack through avoidance.  And I use avoidance to create a bigger mess.

We have now entered the stage of avoidance.  Point of reference:  I just spent the last two hours pulling old college and teaching binders off my shelf and going through them, thus creating large slippery piles of paper on the floor.

Nicely done.

Ok, actually that is the same wine glass from the previous picture. 
Seriously.  It didn’t multiply—it migrated.  Get off my back!  Sheesh.

That larger pile over there by my flip flops consists of poems.  Extra copies of poems that I accumulated in college or during my teaching career.  And they’re good ones too.  And they do not deserve to sit in a dusty binder not being read by a woman who desperately needs to clean her house.

And so, I want to give them to you.  (Really.)

Send me an email at cariejuettner@gmail.com with the subject “I want a poem” and include your name and a mailing address.  Don’t tell me you would prefer to have the poem emailed to you—that’s not the offer.  These are pieces of paper that already physically exist in the universe and which need good homes.  If you give me your address, I will snail-mail you a poem (maybe two) and nothing else.  By agreeing to receive a poem you are not accidentally selling your soul to the Devil, joining a club, or signing up to receive newsletters.  I don’t have a newsletter.  Oh, and there will be cute stickers on the envelope.  And I will pay for the postage.  Even if you live in Antarctica.  What have you got to lose?

My cool friend Stine took this picture many a year ago.

There is no reason why I should have to let my house fall into “condemned” status before giving it a good cleaning, and there is no reason why I should have to give you a reason for wanting to send you some poetry.  But if you need one, April is National Poetry Month.  And let’s face it… you need a little poetry in your life.

Enough said.  If you need me, I’ll be licking envelopes and applying stickers.

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