How to Do Nothing



How to Do Nothing

First you must wash the window to observe more clearly
the dandelion seed heads bobbing in the wind. Next,

announce on Facebook and Twitter that you will be offline
for the next two days, if not forever. Heat water for tea.

Remember the bill you forgot to pay, and then cleanse
your mind of all regret. Consider industrial solvents

and the smoothness of sand-scoured stone, the miracle
of erasure. Eliminate all thought, but remember

the water. Hitch a ride on a Miles Davis solo and float
away on a raft of bluesy notes and lions’ teeth,

and wonder how to sabotage your neighbor’s leaf blower,
but nicely, of course. She’s a widow with a gun.

Now it is time to empty yourself. Close your eyes.
Become a single drop of dew on a constellation of petals.

Evaporate, share the bliss. Stuff that dog’s bark
into a lock box alongside the tapping at the door,

the phone’s vibration, the neighbor’s rumbling bass,
and the nagging, forgotten something that won’t

solidify until three in the morning, keeping you awake.
But don’t ignore the whistling. You must steep the tea.


* * *

“How to Do Nothing” was published in Volume 4 of Steel Toe Review.

steel toe


36 thoughts on “How to Do Nothing

  1. This poem should be a daily read, self-level reset, even on days when the goal of nothing (except tea) is beyond reach. Especially on such days. Like today – thank you for balancing my busy agenda with the notion of otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a brilliant post. I brought my husband in to share this with him. We actually do let the dandelions go for a while. I like their flowers and the green stems are great cooked with garbanzos and caramelized onions. We both laughed about the leave blower because we caused quit a stir in our neighborhood in Seattle area trying to get the use of the “blower” out lawed at a board meeting. This was prior to moving South. We both got a big laugh out loud over this. The verses are beautifully written and I am working towards these goals. Thank you Robert.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe I’d be drifting away with Tom Waits, but I know the feeling well, like Van Morrison’s “Coney Island” bells……
    ” Hitch a ride on a Miles Davis solo and float
    away on a raft of bluesy notes and lions’ teeth,”

    Liked by 1 person

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