This poem appeared in The James Dickey Review and in the anthology, BEAT, NOT BEAT: An Anthology of California Poets, and will be in Kimís new collection, What She Wants, coming from Red Hen Press in February, 2025.

Doing Nothing

I lie down on my bed, pretend to read
On the Road, the book I always lie about
having read. I stare out the window,
think about the day Miss Josephs,
my fifth grade teacher, shared my book report
on The Red Pony with the class:
an example of really excellent work!
But today Iím doing nothing, just staring
at my fingernails. I choose to believe
the latest research, that doing nothing can lead
to bursts of creativity, ideas flowing
like a revitalized creek through a ghost town.
Lava can erupt from an inactive volcano.
I get up from the bed and sit on the floor
in a half spinal twist, apologize to the dead,
which takes a few hours since many people I love
have recently died. Iím sorry I didnít come over sooner,
I tell my mother; sorry, dad, I made fun of you
when you said things like ďheís as old as the hills.Ē

Iím sorry to a poet who loved me.
To be precise, and completely fair to myself,
the word ďdoingĒ in front of the word ďnothingĒ changes
the word nothingó lifts it into the world of action.
I realize this as I stare at the electrical outlet,
wonder what I should plug into it,
what kind of lamp might work well in that corner.
Maybe one of those tall skinny metal poles,
three bulbs shooting straight up ó
something to illuminate the ceiling, but no
itíll look cheap, out of style, and anyway,
maybe I should keep one part of the room dark,
so ideas might grow like mushrooms, populate
my brain with plans I wonít pursue.
It might be time to really read On the Road,
but anotherís stream of consciousness
competing with my own might incite an inertia tsunami.
Iím sorry to the dogs I loved but never cleaned up after.
Iím sorry for all the time I wasted as a child,
when doing nothing was all they expected of the girl
with the chalkboard and dolls.


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