By Elizabeth Alexander
I am lazy, the laziest
girl in the world. I sleep during
the day when I want to, ‘til
my face is creased and swollen,
‘til my lips are dry and hot. I
eat as I please: cookies and milk
after lunch, butter and sour cream
on my baked potato, foods that
slothful people eat, that turn
yellow and opaque beneath the skin.
Sometimes come dinnertime Sunday
I am still in my nightgown, the one
with the lace trim listing because
I have not mended it. Many days
I do not exercise, only
consider it, then rub my curdy
belly and lie down. Even
my poems are lazy. I use
syllabics instead of iambs,
prefer slant to the gong of full rhyme,
write briefly while others go
for pages. And yesterday,
for example, I did not work at all!
I got in my car and I drove
to factory outlet stores, purchased
stockings and panties and socks
with my father’s money.
To think, in childhood I missed only
one day of school per year. I went
to ballet class four days a week
at four-forty-five and on
Saturdays, beginning always
with plie, ending with curtsy.
To think, I knew only industry,
the industry of my race
and of immigrants, the radio
tuned always to the station
that said, Line up your summer
job months in advance. Work hard
and do not shame your family,
who worked hard to give you what you have.
There is no sin but sloth. Burn
to a wick and keep moving.
I avoided sleep for years,
up at night replaying
evening news stories about
nearby jailbreaks, fat people
who ate fried chicken and woke up
dead. In sleep I am looking
for poems in the shape of open
V’s of birds flying in formation,
or open arms saying, I forgive you, all.
I am still not even close to caught up! But I did have a nice Tuesday, despite the news, in the gorgeous spring weather we're having right now. I went to lunch at Tara Thai with Kay, with whom I've been trying to make plans for weeks but we both had a lot going on, then I walked around Washingtonian Lake to talk to the geese and stopped in Target to get the deluxe edition Mockingjay Part Two blu-ray, plus some birthday stuff for Paul.
I'm trying to decide what kind of laptop should replace the one that erased all my settings the night before we left for L.A. -- if I have to reconfigure from scratch and lose an entire day, I'm not doing it on my son's old laptop that lived for two years in my parents' garage. Suggestions welcome (though comments about how Macs are better will be deleted; I've had them, relatives have them, I'm not impressed by what I can't get even for all that money).
We caught up on Elementary -- the superhero episode, which was a delight in every way, from Holmes having to acknowledge that consultants might have something in common with caped vigilantes to Watson telling Morland all the things he can't get by her -- and watched the new Flash (okay), Agents of SHIELD (knew it was coming but leaves the show less fun for me), and Limitless (Bradley Cooper, you're a bad man). Look, Point Dume sea lions!