This was one of my poems from my early fatherhood days, trying to be a good husband, going to school, learning how to fix things around the house, pay the bills. Sometimes we were just so tired. I saw the way people worked so hard with fertilizer and weed killers just to make every blade of grass in their lawns look “perfect,” and by that they mean identical. Personally I liked, and still do like, the multi-colored yellows and violets of my own plot of weeds out back.
I thought of this poem the day before last when I was recording and uploading Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Portrait by a Neighbor.” Funny, you’d think mine was certainly influenced by hers, but I had not read hers at that time. I’m tickled to know she and I are brother and sister in this way.
Of My Ego and the Muse
The rusty kitchen faucet drips and drips;
our oven needs a heating element;
the door knob to the bathroom squeaks and sticks,
and the railing in the stairway is oddly bent.
One day I’ll switch the hoses to the washer
so hot is hot and cold is cold again,
and find the reason that old dryer
never dries but only rocks and spins.
In the interim my toolbox sits unused.
Our speckled lawn grows weedy and unmown
with dandelions and violet blooms,
while I sweat and labor. . . at this poem.
© David J. Bauman 2012
Aside: Bring on the discussion of ellipses versus dashes. I have read the rules, but they, like this poem, seem to bend a bit in such situations. I agonized over using a dash or even an E. E. Cummings-style parenthetical phrase, but a dash normally indicates an abrupt change; parentheses tend to understate, but the ellipses seem most useful in trailing off in thought. Ah well, I shall let the editors argue.