In today’s modern world, it’s so very difficult to escape Things Being Important. Climate change, partisan politics, international tensions, terrorism. They come at us from every angle, screaming for attention. But it’s not just things in conflict: professional sports scores and stars, maintaining optimum health, box office receipts, effective parenting, personal fulfillment, what’s for dinner. Off-street parking, World Cup scores, tepid coffee, buses that don’t run on schedule, people who don’t pick up after their dogs who poop on your boulevard, not enough cars getting through a green light so you have to wait another cycle, not enough nutrients in your vegetables, too many additives in your beef. Mosquitoes. Humidity. Tomato blight. June bugs. Your grass needing to be mowed – again.
These things loom large in our lives, for better or worse. (Ok, they loom large in mine – I’m sure you could come up with a similar list.)
Sometimes, though, it’s good to kick back and just not give a damn. Oh, not for huge amounts of time, and not very deeply, and certainly not when it really matters, but occasionally, sporadically, briefly. Like sherbet eaten between courses in a fancy dinner, it’s good to cleanse your intellectual palate and enjoy something just for the sake of you-know-whats and giggles. Sure, you’ve got to pick your place and time – and company – but not everything in life has to be serious or have consequences.
That’s different than living in the moment, right? Instead, it’s giving yourself permission to take a moment – or more – and just have fun. That’s why we go to movies. That’s why we watch “American Idol” (for a few weeks, at least). That’s why we click on those stupid quizzes on Facebook: What Disney Princess Are You? What City Should You Really Live In? To Which Hogwart’s House Would You Belong? What Is Your Spirit Animal?
For me, this needing to do something just for the fun of it is true with reading and writing, as well. I can only read so much literary fiction before I need to read something a bit…. not lighter, not easier, but different. Straight sci-fi or fantasy. Young adult lit. Even children’s picture books. But then again, after reading so many fantasies, I have to go in for some more “realistic”, more weighty fare (no value judgments!) to give each genre its applicable gravitas (realizing that I’m talking in generalities, not absolutes).
And sometimes, only whimsy will do.
Many years ago, when I was in a women’s writing group, the assignment for the week was to write something whimsical, something that made no sense but was just out-and-out fun to write and to read. Since I find poetry to often be the hardest form to appreciate and therefore the easiest form to parody (I mean, while I certainly could understand and agree with the points my college poetry professor was making, for me, the William Carlos Williams poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” is still just about a wheelbarrow and some white chickens), I did my assignment as a free-form poem (because making it be a structured poem would have been too much work, er, I mean way too serious).
So, just in case life has been too daunting for you lately, and since it’s the end of this week and on the cusp of a busy (and perhaps not as relaxing as it is meant to be) weekend, if you could use a little unexpected whimsy in your life, here is a nonsensical poem that is not supposed to mean anything at all. Hopefully it will bring at least a bit of a smile to your lips and a chuckle to your life. And by all means, try doing this yourself! It’s really – really! – pretty darned fun.
The Philosophy in My Living Room
The sun shines through the slats in my window
Glancing along my kneecaps
Diffusing and dissecting the energy therein
As the ant circumnavigates this world
more obscure than Columbus.
The breeze blows as futile as the
breath of Nietzsche.
Water laps like a dog.
I stretch and worlds collide.
Jean Paul exits as I close my eyes,
yet negating our own existence.
I yawn and the continents crash like waves.
New creatures form and dwindle to bones.
The wheel of Ezekiel spirals around my head and I swat it
as though it was a fly.
The moon will be blue tonight!