The unenviable task
of reassessing a life and
selecting with bitter discretion
what part to throw away,
which parts to keep,
I mean I can look at a writing desk.
I can say this writing desk
is a good desk. I can give this desk
to my good friend Steve
or offer this desk to my friend Eve.
She will say oh I have a fine corner
for the desk, here in the kids’ romper
room, the kids can draw smiles
with red crayons, can draw smiles
with green crayons on the desk.
They can assemble puzzles, jigsaws
of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz,
sceneries of the Emerald City,
the yellow brick road, paste pictures
together of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
See this drawing of the unsinkable Titanic
in all her fine glory before the ship sunk?
I will see the words Her Majesty’s
Royal Mail Ship written in red ink.
I will look down and see a red drawing
of the Union Jack flapping over a green sea.
Yes, this would be a fitting end
to a good desk that has withstood
so much dog-eared doggerel without
208 cubic feet, my entire life
must fit into 208 cubic feet.
This book will fit into a box,
a 12 X 15 X 10 inch banker’s box,
the poems of Pier Paolo Passolini,
in they go into a banker’s box.
Lewis Carroll rhyming about a banker
who also ate like a hippopotamus
will find himself inside a banker’s box.
James Frey and his million little
shopworn ways to arrange into words
will be thrown into another box marked
NOT FIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION
and hopefully sold at a used book store;
If not, then given away to a local library
or lucklessly found on the side of the road.
Thank you for calling U-Haul,
one of our representatives
will be with you in just a moment.
How many banker’s boxes fit
into a 5X8 foot cargo trailer?
We don’t have a guide or a quick list
that can tell us this but if you apply
some simple math, say if each box is
15 inches long but less than a foot high
then just calculate inch length then
about 4 boxes would fit lengthwise
and then calculate inch height then
about 4 boxes would fit height wise
and then calculate 4 rows of boxes
so 4 x 4 x 4 will get you 64 boxes.
Huh? That does not sound right.
All in the math. Just do the math.
The entirety of my life,
condensed into 64 banker’s boxes,
give or take a few, does not seem right.
Some boxes will be left behind
since I have other things that do not
fit into boxes and never would.
I could get a bigger trailer
or I could get a smaller trailer.
I don’t know if I will,
in this segmented life,
except for intermittent