New is the deal,
New car,
New house,
New friends,
New job,
New is where it’s at!

Better, though,
Is a new way of thinking,
Where simple is best,
Where effort matters,
Where the journey beats the stuff.
That’s a true new deal.

Some might say I have a great set up,
Big screen tv,
Super firm mattress,
Room to myself,
To much snoring, you see,
I have it all,
Space, quiet, and comfort.

But that tv has been bugging me,
It takes up too much of my time.
Last month, I pushed it aside,
More reading, some YouTube, more reading
I still have the firm mattress,
The snoring, space, and comfort.
Plus it’s quieter, no tv noise anymore.

A free press is an oxymoron, I think
As paying for the news
Has become something I don’t care for anymore.
Recurring charges to my meager account
Has grown into something
I’m no longer tolerant of.
The prestigious New York Times
Became the latest casualty
Of my scaling everything down.

On a day when I watched a grown ass man
Lay drops of water from a wet mop
Across a dry gym floor
Only two hours after a high school junior
Asked me how to wring out the same mop
As he looked dumbfounded at a mop bucket
I decided I couldn’t take it anymore.
The news had to go because
It’s not adding value to my life.

I’ve grown weary of scandal.
I’m tired of Trump, Sessions, Comey, and Kushner.
Russia bores me.
Democrats, Republicans, and Bernie irritate me.
News is everywhere and I just want to get away,
So calling in and canceling made a decent choice.
I’ll miss the “Times Machine,” but it was all the same
Just with different “gates” and
Other names.

Honestly, I feel a little disappointed,
They offered me more than fifty percent off a year
To stick with the program.
I still quit, mostly out of spite,
Because to offer it now instead of offering it all the time
Shows that the press is not free,
That they are as corporate greedy
As big pharma, big tobacco, or whatever
Else is mugging our wallets.

Now will come the onslaught of emails proclaiming,
“We want you back.”
I think I’ll pass.
For the time being, I can still get my news on cable,
Although, I’ve got the scissors out for that cord, too.
I’m feeling the want of scaling down in all areas
And I barely watch sports anymore,
So why pay so much for cable?
There’s no good reason.

Like there is no reason for
My old student knowing nothing of ringing out a mop and
My colleague and friend of over twenty years who
Was too lazy to roll the ringer to a spill
Rather than going, Hansel and Gretel
With a dripping mop across the pristine floor at school.
That’s real, local reporting and it didn’t cost me a cent.
So long NYT…I’ll throw in your colleagues at Fox, CNN, and MSNBC
Just to be fair and balanced.

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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.