Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Poetry - To Do List

The bus roars away at the end of the day,
And I’m left standing in front of my house.
Grab the mail and page through – any mail for me?
Bills, a credit card advertisement, stock information, a coupon booklet,
A book borrowed by the neighbors, slipped in the newspaper slot, finally returned,
A letter from Uncle Thach and a package from Aunt Nettie,
A birthday card, three months in advance,
And a McDonald’s toy that our neighbor doesn’t want anymore,
Dropped in our mailbox in the hope of finding a home.
But most of the pile lies waiting for my
To Do List.
College advertisements, SAT II forms,
Confirmations of appointments for special programs,
Forms for college visits, and scholarship forms for places I never knew existed
And will probably never visit,
Thrown on the pile on the dining room table,
Growing always,
Almost threatening my pile of homework,
But not quite.
Pre-Calculus project due Tuesday,
Various research strewn across the table,
Open dictionaries and encyclopedias, pencil, paper, and calculator,
Scratch paper coated with dark hieroglyphs,
And formulas growing from half-thought ideas, never needed, never used,
The useful ones piled beneath the mail.
Always growing,
Piles rival for my attention,
Tottering and falling, collapsing on each other,
Barely piles at all,
More resembling the Tower at Pisa than carefully organized categories of information,
No longer organized,
To Do List.
Mutating, deforming, reproducing, left alone,
Always multiplying, merciless.
English due Monday, thank goodness for weekends, snow days,
And colored pencils – the erasable kind.
Speech due on Thursday in Biology II,
Nothing written yet, unbegun,
Relevant information buried on the dining room table and saved on the computer,
No time to rediscover the lost past of Science Fair
Beneath the material covered on the
To Do List.
Spanish shirts due Tuesday, not started yet,
Is there enough time to begin?
Sponge paints on the kitchen table,
Blue and white paint drying in flakes on margarine lids and old newspaper,
Red shirt, unmarred by paint, waiting to carry Spanish phrases,
But needing my time to paint them on.
Just one more thing on my
To Do List.
Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science
Claims my Saturday,
There goes the weekend.
First Place Certificate added to my piles,
I’ll find somewhere to put it, as soon as I find the time to find a spot,
One more thing on the
To Do List.
SAT class Tuesday nights, Pit Practice Wednesday,
Science Olympiad after school,
Spanish test Tuesday, mentioned on Monday,
No Chapters given – should I study the whole book?
No time to even read the introduction,
Except during Calculus. Just one more thing on the
To Do List.
Religion assignment due Wednesday,
Write about a quick decision I’ve had to make – would I make it again?
How to answer the question?
The only decisions I’ve had to make recently are which assignments should I do first,
The largest ones or the ones due the soonest?
One more assignment, and I’m going to scream.
List on my white board, carefully color-coded
At the beginning of the quarter, now scribbled over with due dates and tests,
Barely readable, adding to confusion,
Yet somehow making me feel organized.
Which is more important,
Order or psychology?
I’ll have to debate it later – no time now,
I’ll write that on my
To Do List.
Portfolio due Thursday, I’ve barely started,
I have the first assignment done,
But not edited.
I might have to turn it in that way,
And hope I haven’t missed a colossal mistake,
Lurking maliciously on the page in front of my tired eyes.
Thursday night, freedom-bringing,
Slowly coming, yet too fast,
Save me from my
To Do List!



Blogger Jon said...

I am glad to see you post this. I loved it!

8:41 PM  

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