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Clay Carpenter


You get to the point where you think, I’m ahead -
I’m sticking to the exercise plan.
The covered patio is repaired,
the fishbowl is clean,
the lawn is mowed -
And there is a charge that you get
maybe a half dozen times
in your life. You’re on top of things.
It lasts about five steps before you remember
that you haven’t changed the oil
in more than four months, and you realize
that maybe this is as close to being on top of things as you will come
because no matter how hard you work
something’s always overdue -
a library book,
a video,
replacing the air conditioner filter,
painting the house,
saying 'I love you’ to your children,
calling your parents,
cleaning the refrigerator,
buying new shoes,
writing a poem.

Originally published in Apple Valley Review (Spring 2006)
Used with the author’s permission.

Clay Carpenter is a newspaper copy editor who wishes he could spend eight hours a day writing poems instead of headlines.
He lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, with his wife, two daughters, a golden retriever, and an ornery cat--all of whom provide plenty of inspiration for his poems

Post New Comment:
Posted 11/12/2014 08:52 PM
Wilda Morris:
How true!
Posted 11/12/2014 01:19 PM
Marjorie Pagel:
Love it! It so describes me. . .and I think if we can laugh at ourselves and know that many others share the same challenge, we're so much better off. Plus you got a good poem out of that. I'd love to share it on Facebook but of course not without your permission.
Posted 11/12/2014 09:43 AM
I get it!!!
Posted 11/12/2014 08:33 AM
Oh yes!
Posted 11/12/2014 08:25 AM
Larry Schug:
I would add "do nothing" to the list; for some people it's the most difficult, but most important, task. I'm a world-class expert. I like this poem of everyday life.
Posted 11/12/2014 07:50 AM
Janet Leahy:
Thanks for reminding me—the furnace needs a new filter . . . great poem, glad you took time to write it!
Posted 11/12/2014 07:41 AM
Once again, a good poem highlights an idea to which you immediately relate, but which you had never before voiced.
Posted 11/12/2014 07:39 AM
so true!
Posted 11/12/2014 06:51 AM
I nodded my head at every line - and then added the last one! I just had to.
Posted 11/12/2014 12:52 AM
Ross Kightly:
You want something done? Ask a busy person to do it! Sums up the grass not to grow under the feet attitude, does this top poem!!
Posted 11/12/2014 12:05 AM
Love this!
Posted 11/11/2014 11:37 PM
Fun poem.
Posted 11/11/2014 11:22 PM
Don Colburn:
Great to see another newspaper guy making time to write poems. Two kinds of important work, I say. Check out my site: Cheers, Don Colburn
Posted 11/11/2014 11:20 PM

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