Home > Poetry > I Am Not Lazy. This Is One Thing I Am Not.
Published: Tue Oct 15 1974
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
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I Am Not Lazy. This Is One Thing I Am Not.

for Ken

I keep a tidy kitchen.
When irreparable damage had been done
I gave up smoking but for maybe just
One cigar a day. I emptied all the trays.
When news reached us of the undue
Hardships I divided the wind as
A factor, the speed as a factor
And puffed up the pillows in the next room.
When armies of enemies and friends advanced
Unlimited, I saw someone who looked
Like your wife and bought a
Picture of her for you to put on your desk.
When bullets hit dead center I said
What is the use of all the people we
Did not love and who did not love us.
I put them out with the garbage.
Before we killed an animal for
Supper we begged his pardon on
Our knees like the Cherokees.
When strong currents ripped away
The walls I claimed it was the
Only way to stop the runaway cars.
Tasting the air like snakes without
Noses we’ve crawled along a long time
Finding our direction.
That’s why I can honestly say I am
And have always been a good if not excellent

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Grace Cavalieri teaches Creative Writing at the Antioch Baltimore-Washington Campus. (updated fall 1974)

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