Sunday, September 19, 2010
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A PENCIL
I wish I could have a sip of that coffee, a bite of that donut—
They smell so fresh and sweet.
And they would really help wake me up,
I’m feeling rather dull this morning
After nine months in a drawer.
But I guess he needs them more than I do.
Actually he treats me rather well,
Aside from this benign neglect of starvation and isolation.
No chewing on my tender pink rubber eraser
Or picking at my shiny yellow paint
As happened to me in another incarnation
When I was owned by a child.
(I wonder if he did that as a kid?)
But now he’s picking me up, sticking me in the sharpener,
Turning me against the cold sharp steel, shavings flying.
Instantly I feel sharp and new and ready to write.
My big day has come! No more standing idle
In a cup on the desk or lying benighted in darkness with the others.
My hour of glory has arrived! I’m going to write a poem!
But he sits for minutes at a time, motionless, holding me to his forehead,
Or intermittently drumming me on the desk, rolling me in his fingers,
Even putting me to his lips and starting to gnaw before jerking me away.
(Must be afraid of lead poisoning. How little does he know!)
But no writing. He might think he’s thinking,
But he’s just ignoring me. I’m trying to help,
I’m transmitting thoughts and feelings
To his sleepy brain, but he just isn’t getting it.
I ponder how little humans know or care about the alternative
Intelligence, imagination, and creativity
Found in the complex carbon chemistry of graphite
And its symbiotic relationship with anthropoidal ambitions.
But he’s not listening, not tuned in, not receptive,
Still waiting for the caffeine and sugar to kick in,
And getting more frustrated with every minute,
Blaming his shortcomings on everyone but himself.
Finally, with a grunt of anger
He crumples my cousin, Paper, then snaps me in half,
Slam dunking both of us into the waste basket.
Death is so sad, but for me it doesn’t last long.
I can feel my spirit rising from the trash can
Even as he picks up a gold and silver fountain pen
And I am born again into my new home,
Baptized in the sacred blood of a holy ink well.
And then, O sacred Epiphany, Miracle of Miracles,
He finally gets it and the ink begins to flow
As the words to my poem burst forth onto the page
In a burning blaze of glory!