I've taken to reading poetry on the eliptical machine at the gym. I wish I would have thought about it sooner. It's often tough for me to lose myself in the small font of a novel, and magazines sometimes work but there are only so many good magazines. They're expensive and if I was to hold myself to magazines at Bally's, I'd have to read stuff I'm not interested in like Boater's World and Sound and Vision. But a book of poetry is perfect. I read a poem, holding the book up in front of my eyes as my mouth sounds out each word so the poem isn't destroyed for me. Then, if I like it, I read it again. Maybe again, too. Then I take a break, go real hard for thirty seconds, then flip to a new poem.
After a few poems, I stop and wonder why I've never written a poem. Then I think of something to write about - my first job, cleaning the blood and entrails off the boards and floor in a butcher shop - and come up with a few lines in my head. Then I don't like a word I chose in the fourth line, and run through a list of words that I could choose that would work better. Then I get bored, and go back to the book of poetry. I see a poem that might work in the classroom, and fold the page down. I see another one that I want to read in a quieter spot tonight, and fold that page down. Then I read one that blows me away, about a woman watching her father swim, and how he was perfect in that frame of time and how she wishes she remembered him and judged him in his perfection rather than in the things he couldn't do, and I'm reminded of my recent struggles and arguments with my own father, and wonder why I cannot judge him for his swimming rather than everything else. Then I close the book and peddle hard and think hard about how we're going to get along well when he and mom come down to visit for Thanksgiving.
Then I switch to another poem, and then another, and before I know it, all thirty minutes on the machine have passed. I'll be on it again tomorrow at 6am.
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