Breakfast at the local diner—
ham and eggs special.
A glimpse into a book on dinosaurs.
And then a swim in a public pool,
as stuffed with bodies as a morgue.
A half-hour on the bicycle path
pedaling my body into submission.
A healthy lunch consisting
of one apple and an energy bar.
Some work around the house.
Nothing too stressful.
Finally, a nap in a hammock
while the afternoon sun
asks, “Is it hot enough for you.”
Then reheated leftovers
and more time
with the dinosaur book,
reading, not just looking
at the pictures.
Wow, that T Rex
was really something.
Then watching some CSI offshoot,
falling asleep half way through.
waking as the credits roll.
Stumbling off to bed.
Lying awake, staring
at a damp spot on the ceiling.
Lots of acts,
even the inaction.
but no one else
on this entire planet
did exactly that.
Review by Jared Pearce
The speaker’s response to the reader’s unasked question, a response that strikes me as defensive and almost offended, offers a clue to how we live and why we live. Here the speaker’s unremarkable life is a consolation in the speaker’s view of originality. And while the exact list of actions and inactions might be unique, what’s really fine about this poem is the final irony of the speaker’s defense: for all his reliance on his uniqueness, his normalness, his middle-class, middle-age humdrum is exactly the commonality in so much of what art and philosophy seeks to disrupt in an attempt to create meaningful existence. The twist at the end of this poem, the defense and the ironic struggle, make for lots of fun and reflection.
Review by John Dorroh
Grey’s description of a typical Saturday (maybe, maybe not) presents an obvious question, one that everyone of us utters at some time: Is this it? A week of work followed by doing non-essential activities on a Saturday in such a carefree manner could actually be doing so much. Some sort of balance perhaps. Of course I make certain assumptions that the character in the poem works hard at his job and may deserve to “do nothing,” to spend it checking off items from a list: eating, swimming, reading. Lounging in a hammock, eating left-overs, etc.
The dinosaur references lend a cool contrast—thinking about the lives of dinosaurs—eating, foraging, eating, defending their turf, reproducing—to what the subject of the poem does. His lines “Wow, that T Rex/was really something” make me think that the author might see no progression in how all organisms spend their time. Are we the same as T Rex? Have there been no significant advances in these millions of years?
Maybe we should expect more but often give in to the built-in desire to do nothing at all. Funny and odd. I like it.