Subtraction

This poem will have too many words
For the subject it considers.
This poem will be a gross exaggeration
Of what is necessary.
Maybe here is where the bottom of the well
Begins.

Friday is my gift of persistence,
A day off after many years on the job.
Somehow it doesn’t seem like much
As my brain is geared less on relaxing
And more on the calendar
With only two weeks of school left.

Tonight I’ve hunkered down in the basement
Binging from My List on Netflix.
I’ve eschewed the foreign television series
For I don’t feel like reading my entertainment tonight.
Instead, it’s about New York City cops
Who were unable to say no to having more.
Their story of consumption is sad on so many levels,
My story is nowhere near theirs
Since there’s no gangster in me.

I was taken by the sadness and regret
Of guys who thought they had everything,
But lost the material stuff when their honor
Was shown to be worth nothing.
In their lives as criminals that gave them riches
The men sworn to preserve and protect
Could not cultivate a bit of happiness.

The binge continued with two more guys
Who were going in the opposite direction as the blue bloods.
The next documentary told the story of minimalists,
People who pare their lives down to create great metaphorical space
In an effort to live simply, happily.
I was struck by the message
As there is something in me lately that wants to cut things out,
No organs or tongues, but stuff, all the bloated things collecting dust
In my unfinished basement.

How much do I need?
What is giving me value?

Before me is a large screen television hooked to a Roku, no cable, no antenna.
It gets me to Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, and Radio Paradise.
The tv rests on an over priced hutch with shelves
Which holds cases of CDs, DVD players, art supplies, and other random shit.
To my left is a plastic shelf with two tripods, a lamp, and five board games.
There’s a boxed Christmas tree holding a rolled up Japanese mattress,
Both sitting on top of leftover flooring and brand new golf clubs still in the box,
Six years later…
There are random space heaters, Christmas decorations, used golf clubs, tools,
Random bins full of bills, transcripts, writing projects, photographs, and …….

I haven’t even gotten to my desk
Or the indoor cycling bike that I’ve recently started using again
Or the three tables,
Or the section of the sectional I took from upstairs,
Or the weights,
Or the vacuum cleaner,
Or…the shoes…about thirteen pairs…(two feet???)

The movie goes on and I think about my closet.
How much on the hangers is necessary?
My dresser?
How many pairs of socks do I need?
What of all those static generating sweat pants that I hate?

I’ve got too much stuff.
Yet, I hardly keep anything and
Find myself wanting less.

So tomorrow is truly a gift from all these years.
I’m cleansing.
Clothes that I don’t wear are finding a new home.
Shoes, too.
Saturday the holiday continues
When I tackle the bins before clearing out
A basement full of egotistical clutter I’ve carried for too long,
Time to put out some smoldering embers.

Hopefully, all this subtraction, the purging of stuff
Will have a positive effect
Because I’m ready to see what less feels like.

One thought on “Subtraction

  1. oh I am inspired! Purple Heart is in my neighborhood next week. I’m signing up and shipping out all those things I no longer need or want. Thanks for the insight!

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