slice of life: worn and unkempt treasures

Poetry feels like an essential service these days. It is a place to create meaning in unsettled times.

Some Things I Like by Lemn Sissay attracted me because it covets the unseemly. Confronting the uncomfortable is never easy. Especially now. This poem is contrary. It invites difficulty in and praises it.

Sissay’s poem begs me to see things that others might not cherish, but I do.

I like the safety of a cluttered desk and unemptied trash.
I like piles of dirty laundry,  waiting to be tended.
I like the white worn edges of an album cover.
I like unbound pages of a book slipped in place.
I like the escaping hair from a week-long, slept-on ponytail.
I like weeds reaching through a chainlink fence.
I like crooked eyeglasses and too-short, too-tight pants that are worn without knowing.
I like a blue tongue after sucking candy and playground blackness smudged on faces.
I like shoes used just short of the sole.

5 thoughts on “slice of life: worn and unkempt treasures

  1. I loved reading Sissay’s poem and learning about him as well as your version. I may not agree with many of the things on his list, but you made me see things sweetly in your list. The ponytail “escaping hair” and the “shoes just short of sole” are particularly powerful.

  2. I heard this poem. Was it on Poetry Unbound? What a nice take on the form. I love how things that are unkempt make life comfortable.

  3. In reading this I realized how many unkempt pieces of my life I also treasure and should elevate them to poetry status the way you did in this tribute to Sissay.

  4. I like the perspective. The messiness of life can be seen as something to be appreciated. Thnak you for sharing the two poems.

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