In a talk I recently heard, the speaker said
that at 50, a man has less than
1500 weekends left in his life.
Having chewed on this fact for the last week,
I now realize that my 1499th weekend is coming.
And so I’m making big plans:
On this 1499th remaining Saturday,
I plan to grade a stack of student papers.
But knowing that there are only so many of these
Saturdays to sit through,
I am planning on writing the most
remarkable comments and grades
I have ever composed.
Instead of pointing out where the prose clunks,
I will say that the sentence over which I stumble
reminds me of a ’62 Fiat convertible
I once owned, a car that ran well enough
when I bought it,
until I rear-ended a truck one day
and the front end crumbled
pushing the radiator back just enough
that the fan chewed a hole through
the back end,
the blades not only making an unearthly racket,
but also bleeding the radiator dry
and leaving a green stain on the pavement.
And instead of pointing out that a comma is not a coma,
that noone and alot are two words,
that a manor is a large country house,
(in a manner of speaking)
and that collage
is not an institution of higher learning,
I will point out to them that Shakespeare, too,
invented new spellings and words
so that rather than see their grades as a kind
they might rather embrace these marks as a sort of celebration
of their wild and anarchic spirit
which has emancipated itself from all bounds,
from all pedestrian, prosaic concerns
on this glorious, remaining 1499th Saturday.
This poem first appeared in Ruminate (2009/2010 Issue #14: Jest)
Used here with the author's permission.
David Holper has done a little bit of everything: taxi driver, fisherman, dishwasher, bus driver, soldier, house painter, bike mechanic, bike courier, and teacher. Currently, he teaches English at College of the Redwoods. In spite of all that useful experience on his resume and a couple of degrees in English to boot, he has gone on to publish a number of stories and poems, including a poetry collection, 64 Questions (March Street Press). David lives in Eureka, California, which is far enough from the madness of civilization that he can get some writing done. Another thing that helps in this process is that his three children continually ask him to tell them stories, and he is learning the art of doing that well for them.
I love this poem. How many weekends have I spent grading papers? Too many, and sadly, I don't suppose I shall ever get them back to bolster my diminishing number.
Posted 10/09/2010 10:22 AM