One theme. One poet. One memoirist.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


This week's theme: Bread

I was accused a few weeks ago of not being very spontaneous. The conversation actually began based on my own admission of being a very difficult person to date. The person who made the accusation agreed, mainly because my standards are preposterously high (somewhere out there is my Mr. Darcy) and because, apparently, I am lacking in spontaneity.

At first I was offended by these remarks, particularly as we had begun our friendship rather recently. More importantly, having a Benedictine whose life is based on the recurring rhythms of work and prayer tell you that you're not spontaneous enough is a bit like having a reality TV star tell you that you're a narcissist. Yet, since that conversation I've been more attentive to the value I place on routine. I was shocked to discover that I am defined by my routines. Some of them make sense. I follow a prescribed pattern before I go to bed every night because I suffer from insomnia and the routine helps me fall asleep. I am in the library four nights a week because I'm worried about passing comps. But other routines (the way my morning starts, my exact time for eating lunch every day, the time at which I take my walk) are just patterns. They have no significance aside from the fact that I do these things at these times every day. This in itself is not a bad thing. However, the fact that when the routine is changed I become terribly angry is deeply problematic.

I am not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneity has nothing to do with this week's theme of bread. Rather, it was my reflections on making bread (which is not something one does spontaneously) and sharing bread that brought me to think of this conversation. My deepest apologies to Lauren, but I've admirably circumvented the theme for this week.

I'm not sold on the poem's title and would happily take suggestions



Tomorrow morning, you'll wake early,
pack a basket full of fruit and wine,
cold-press coffee and bread we baked together.
You'll put this in the backseat of the car,
along with the quilt your mother made us
and the copy of Lady Chatterly's Lover
you've been reading to me before I fall asleep.
You'll wake me when you're finished
and hand me the phone so I can call in sick.
We'll spend the entire day taking long walks and later,
lying on the quilt reading aloud to one another,
perhaps even letting the novel inspire us to reenact a scene or two.
Exhausted, we'll return home. Each already reveling in memories of the afternoon.
Although, it is possible that when you come to wake me
I'll remember my calendar full of appointments, the printer deadline
that must be met, the phone calls that have to be returned,
and that it's absolutely necessary that you return that bike lock to the store.


  1. Apology accepted. Because (a) you used the word "bread" and (b) it's rather spontaneous of you to change the topic.

    I agree with you on the title. But since I'm no good at making up titles, I can offer no help.

    One thing that struck me in this poem is timing. The quilt from the bed is packed before the narrator is awake. How? And when you take long walks are you taking the quilt with you to different places or are you returning to the same quiet place in the park? (This latter question is, I admit, minor.)

    Your goal is to appear spontaneous, but the narrator is planning this potential outing as much as she is planning the day of appointments, etc. I like that. Old habits die hard.

  2. Point taken and changes made. There's a false line break now on line 14--the words "the afternoon" should be on line 13.