Routine – Spoken Word Poem

Routine – Spoken Word Poem

Everybody has a differing level of appreciation for the routine. On the more pessimistic side you have the monotony of the mundane, of the perennial. On the optimistic side you have the safety and reliability of a path well-worn, understood. Perhaps a good balance is to make daily forays off the well-trodden path, little excursions that keep safety in sight while walking on cool grass that creaks when pressed down for the first time. Then again, I have met a decent number of people who wild camp their way through life. They jump on opportunities to experience something new with the innate fear of spending too much time in one spot. I’m not sure if I could do that. I like to think of it like good jazz music, like improvisation along a well-oiled series of scales. Start with a basic set of notes, trill along the minor pentatonic, coast through blues scales, then mix it up into something altogether new. I think it is possible to live in the old and known and make it something altogether alien. Still, I’ve found that it occasionally requires gaining some new perspective.

Routine

The man trundled along the side of the street
slowly meandering his way
with the pace
of one not too keen on the destination.
His eyes were down
keeping track
of each nook and cranny in the asphalt,
praying to God the weather had drawn something new.

Some of the bigger cracks and crevices in the sidewalk had names.
He was currently passing the Not So Grand Canyon bridging the gap
of two slabs
of concrete
split by an angry tree.

He chuckled as he passed this canyon
patting the tree with reverence.
The bark felt gnarled, rough,
the scars of something unable to move
but still pushing aside anything that
infringed on its space.

The man couldn’t even get mad when he tripped
on the lifted concrete slab
and twisted root
nearly every day.

The next place of any sort of note
along his daily path,
a block past the Not So Grand Canyon,
was a live exhibit titled Birth Control Seen Much Too Late.
Now don’t misinterpret
the man thought kids were great.
But
there was a mother
who
well before eight in the morning
shepherded three gleefully uncompliant kids onto an idling passenger bus.
And the mother’s weathered hands
and furrowed face
were so well ingrained
they seemed to induce wrinkles
on anybody who passed.

The man then turned north across the street and
glowered at
the iconic hot dog stand
serving indigestion
for the low low price of a dollar fifty,
the rotund merchant hawking his wares with that
stupid grin splashed across his face.

The man found it hard to believe
anyone could be that happy,
especially when effectively
selling twenty minutes on a porcelain throne
in a convenient hand-held tubular form.

The man’s daily walk to work was now nearly done.

He walked on past two more buildings
his fifty something year old legs dragging
from much more than age.

There,
only a few feet away
were the two office doors he passed through every day.
He saw himself in the reflection of the door handle.
Had he always been so old?

Suddenly his stomach somersaulted to the side
at the moment of his arrival,
And he looked to his right.
It struck him he had never walked any further down the street,
turned the corner to see
what other real life exhibitions
were waiting in the wings.

All told,
he realized it was a travesty
and right now
was a good a time as any
to make it
all right.

Thanks for reading!

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