Week 23: Collector of Small Things

I don’t want to know your favorite color—
you are not the movies you watch or the music
you play on your car stereo, or the books you read
or your bright sneakers, or beautiful hats
or the places you go, or went when you were young

Indulge me—I am a collector of small things:
the gap between breaths, the unconscious pauses
between words, the things you want to do
but have never thought of doing, uncatalogued desires
the distance between a smile and its laughter
the vowels you slightly mispronounce, the secrets
that you don’t realize are secrets, because
they are so small they slip through description
like minnows darting playfully, in and out
dancing through the loose weave of a coarse net.

Author’s Notes:

There is a tendency for people to tie their identity with the things they like to consume, which I think *can be* a little weird and sort of dull. It’s also something that I catch myself doing, and I think that it’s just a feature of the world that we live in, so I don’t think it’s awful. But it’s nice to be reminded that a person’s taste isn’t who they are.

I don’t really know how well this particular poem captures the breadth of that idea, but I like that it tries to. One thing that is interesting to me reading through it now is the ‘I’ that I created in the poem is trying to make this intimate sort of connection beyond just knowing what the other person likes, but can’t totally escape being a consumerist himself. He specifically calls himself a collector and is very performative about it.

Favorite Line:
or your bright sneakers, or beautiful hats

Line I Have the Most Ambivalence About:
Indulge me—I am a collector of small things