Week 2: Coat rack in the corner

Light bulb at the center of the room
coat rack in the corner
clock on the wall, relentless ticking
and me with my shoes laced up, ready to go
my shoes laced neatly up

light bulb at the center, filament on fire
bare and hot, a light bulb, a noise
a thud from above, a “just a minute”
and me laced up, in these nice shoes
and me tapping away at the floor
shoes on the wooden floor, anxiously tapping

and I, staring at the wall, at the window, at the ceiling
staring at the coat rack in the corner
at the coat rack full of coats, all coming to life
grotesque and lumpy, there in the corner
heavy with coats, alive and about to leap
“I’m coming,” comes shouting from above
but like molasses slowly, like a waterfall—
a waterfall of honey over honey, a waterfall
of caramel, and me with my shoes on and ready

the clock is being sarcastic on the wall
the spiteful clock, ticking forward in machine gun bursts
ticking in Morse code, ratcheting along
but listen—that’s the stomp of human steps
the clock is laughing, but now another stomp
thank God!—the thud thud thud of human feet
I hear them—one, two, three, four—a creak
now the stairs are squirming and screaming
and me with my shoes laced up and on my feet
down they come and into view, and finally
up and moving, we are finally ready

keys and wallet, light switch struck, coats retrieved
out the door, we are out and going
we are on our way, car doors opening
keys in the ignition, the engine wheeling
and I say to myself, “Well, if we’re lucky
maybe we can make up for lost time
on the freeway.”

we’ll be late anyway, but at least we can try.

Author’s Notes:

This week’s attempt is a lot less abstract than last week’s. It started out as just being about the light bulb (it wasn’t good) and then the story of the poem sort of emerged from there. I can relate to both sides of this situation. It’s almost sort of stressful and frantic to read.

The thing I’m most happy about with this poem is that I think it hits on a h​uman experience that is small, but highly charged, and isn’t usually examined very closely. Being ready to leave for something important, but not able to go, because you’re waiting for someone else…there is literally nothing you can do, but your mind is in action mode, so it latches onto whatever it can.

I worry about the way that it reads, because some lines carry into the next and some have a beat in between them. So to me, it reads well, but I know what I meant it to be read like when I wrote it. I could have used more punctuation to better guide the reader…but on the other hand, I might just have messed it up worse.

And finally…if you’ve read this far, you should probably go ahead and sign up for the weekly email.

Favorite line:
the clock is being sarcastic on the wall

A line I’m unsure about:
heavy with coats, alive and about to leap