Poetry Thursday: Shit that don’t fit


The two-wheeled
coat rack
that mocks your hatred
of exercise

The hideous lamp
you snatched
off the side of the road
whose torn shade
matches nothing,
including the base
that supports it

The heirloom
dining-room table
that seats sixteen
(with the leaves)
but far more efficiently serves
to remind you
of using rooms for the reasons
dead people say
you should

The 14 days
of MP3s
not played

The yard-high stack
of “information”
you have no need of

The books you bought
because the time you wanted
to read them
was not for sale

Throw them out
Give them away
Send them back
Pass them on

Because life is too short
and far too precious
to waste on too-tight pants
and too-small ideas
and all the rest
of that shit that don’t fit.

Let go of the stuff
and ideas
will shyly float in
to replace it

We are made
for thoughts
and poems
and love
and the space
to enjoy them

How sad
we can’t see that
for want of a way
through the clutter.


Image by via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.


  1. Wonderful Colleen. I enjoyed this so much, I read it twice … right away.

    The line “too-tight pants and too-small ideas” speaks volumes! I am a huge fan of the purge – the old books, the linens, the clothes. Luxury for me is a shelf with empty space.

    I agree with Nona that Poetry Thursday is great day. What else would we expect from a woman who is committed to her writing?!

  2. Love it, love you!

    When you clean up and toss out for the right reasons, nothing sad can come of it.

    “life is too short and far too precious”…to sweat the small stuff!


  3. I like this a lot. Sometimes for me, however, the decision to throw things out is only one part of the solution to clutter–the other part is finding time to throw out said things responsibly instead of just renting a humongous dumpster for a week. Take the dead batteries to the toxic disposal place. Take the baggies of popsicle sticks to the recycled arts materials place. Take the clothes to Goodwill. Call the Salvation Army about that dead futon. Take the extra drill bits and scraps of 2 x 4 to Urban Ore in Berkeley. How to do all this (and more!) in the course of your average Saturday morning. Pant, pant.

    Thanks for your poems–they always make me think!

  4. Thank you, all. Really, you’re so kind, it’s quite moving.

    Elaine, I’m in 97% agreement with you. I save up the batteries for a run, the clothes for another, the art supplies for another.

    I even bring the books to the buy-back used book store and the higher-end clothing to the buy-back used clothes store, and for super special items, will try to find good homes (finally found one for my mom’s old mohair sweater with the pom-poms).

    So yeah, there are little “waiting” piles all over the house, and I get to them when I can, and it’s a little messy here now b/c I can’t.

    But I will confess to a level of rather ruthless triage in dire cases. The BF and I are culling a lot of stuff at his place, and sometimes, it goes into the recycle bin rather than the “find home for re-use” pile, or even the garbage. Because I can turn the passing-on of stuff into a whole other self-blaming game, and that helps no one.

    I admire your precision and level of dedication, though. It’s something I aspire to!

  5. Thanks for this dose of inspiration.

    I like to make a little ritual out of stuff that is too far gone for give away– anything I can’t re-home or recycle, I’ll write a note on before throwing away. The note will say something like ‘fear of success’, or something else I’d like to release along with the item. Makes me more conscious, and makes it more fun.

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