The Surprising Cure for My A.D.D.

posted November 15, 2023

After Kirsten Shu-yin Chen

An impulsive purchase on Instagram:
A Pilates bar, baffling without the accompanying video links.
I spend my life trying to avoid video instruction.

But. Sixty-four dollars and ninety-nine cents.
Ten days of remorseful waiting 
For a package I’m sure I’ll never open.

Every day the waves tumble the shard of glass
No one comes to check on its progress.
I cut the bar out of its packaging, attempt the first video.

Please don’t tell me
I’ll never change.
Do tell me about the moment you slowed down

Only because something caught your eye—
A flash of red in the woods off the bike path,
A stash of empty Skoal cans, neatly stacked to the left of the battered tent.

How the next day you slowed down again
To leave a full can at the tent’s door.

For the month of November, I write a poem a day to support the efforts of the Center for New Americans. Please support my efforts by contributing to this wonderful organization via my pledge page.

My poem came from Sarah Sullivan’s prompt to “copy” the poem “Small Talk” by Kirsten Shu-yin Chen. As listeners to my band The Nields know, I am a big fan of borrowing/stealing the forms and tropes of others to make something new of my own. Below is Kirsten’s beautiful poem. By the way, I have been using that Pilates bar regularly, and to give credit where it’s due, I’ll say that I got it from a company called “Stretched Fusion.” They did not pay me to say this. And if they offered me big bucks for endorsing them, I would take the money and run.

Small Talk                    
by Kirsten Shu-yin Chen

A mouse scared my stomachache away.
It has something to do with adrenaline.
All the best panaceas are natural.
I pull clean water
through my teeth and marvel
at a waterfall I’ll never see.
Every day the sun rises in Baja Sur
as fresh coffee beans are ground.
I take two hits and sleep.
Please don’t tell me
about your dreams.
Do tell me what you listen for
wide awake in the night—
if insomnia improves your hearing,
and the fire escape has rhythm.
If your body breaks into waves
and if anyone is there to witness it.

The Comments

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  1. Thank you for these two beautiful poems–the one by Kirsten, and the other by you. How many indispensable flowers blossom from a single seed.

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