Cleaning (Draft 1)

Cleaning (Draft 1)

So you’ve nagged about cleaning
as if there’d be an honorable response

As I read through past papers
rejections slips, collection notices
more emptiness opens
between the torn shreds, and
I realize there is no honor in tidiness

Yes, you are happy I’ve
thrown out more bags
and put boxes in the closet

You praise and celebrate neatness
cocky that nagging has paid off
and I suppose that after I’m gone
the room will be beautiful

Yes, I am slow to unpack, read
and throw out unneeded papers

But I don’t suppose you realize
that when every bit of worthlessness,
every document of failure, every
silly piece of rejected script is
torn and thrown away after re-reading,
that the room will be neat and beautiful
as you would have it be for
the appearance of success, but that
the former occupant would be dead.

Yes, sure, tell me to unpack
throw away hope
put more things in the closet
let you be tidy and proud

Your house will be beautiful
when an accidental suicide is tidy
and neatly done, if the number
attending the funeral is sufficient;
you will be happy for the prestige

Maybe if the death is notorious enough
I can get more press to attend, and
boost the numbers

But really I will be so sorry
if a secret love comes because
I could never really be anywhere for her,
and maybe if she could cry at my funeral
she could have been my dearest stranger friend

— Douglas Gilbert

3 thoughts on “Cleaning (Draft 1)

  1. You’re gonna make me cry just reading this…don’t read that stuff. Whoever would send you a rejection slip is an idiot. Oh, and collection stuff, well that drops off your credit report in 7 years (i know from experience) so don’t worry too much about those. You should bring them over here and we’ll put them in my grill and have a bonfire with them and make smores. We could turn something negative into a positive maybe? I do know how you feel though…i’ve had to go through boxes of things that made me crumble inside before too…

    1. Thanks. I’m tired about the focus on how things “appear” rather than how things are. Making things appear better doesn’t actually make things be better. I’m so tired of decorating sadness to make it pretty. Pretty bad… now that I think about it, it’s an interesting slang. How are things? “Pretty bad” I suppose is like a reference to “every cloud has a silver lining” or something. “Pretty good” is like partially sarcastic or like partly cloudy, and “Pretty bad” is like partly sunny, ooh um, or is it vice versa — i don’t know, I always knock over the proverbial half full glass…

      1. You’re right…decorating sadness to make it pretty is exhausting and it’s hard when the same sadness keeps having to be decorated over and over. I guess it would be a wonderful thing to find the cure for the sadness (if you find it, let me know).

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