American Life in Poetry: Column 787
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
I had to drop out of a philosophy class in college because I'd begun to think about what I was thinking about and I was getting dizzy and sick. Here's a poem by Danusha Laméris about getting relief from thinking. It's from Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems, published by Grayson Books of West Hartford, CT. The poet lives in Santa Cruz, CA, and she has a book forthcoming in April 2020 from the University of Pittsburgh Press entitled Bonfire Opera.
Don't you wish they would stop, all the thoughts
swirling around in your head, bees in a hive, dancers
tapping their way across the stage? I should rake the leaves
in the carport, buy Christmas lights. Was there really life on Mars?
What will I cook for dinner? I walk up the driveway,
put out the garbage bins. I should stop using plastic bags,
visit my friend whose husband just left her for the Swedish nanny.
I wish I hadn't said Patrick's painting looked "ominous."
Maybe that's why he hasn't called. Does the car need oil again?
There's a hole in the ozone the size of Texas and everything
seems to be speeding up. Come, let's stand by the window
and look out at the light on the field. Let's watch how the clouds
cover the sun and almost nothing stirs in the grass.
We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2013 by Danusha Laméris, "Thinking," from The Moons of August, (Autumn House Press, 2013). Poem reprinted by permission of Danusha Laméris and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2020 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.