Our minds are constantly constructing poems, even while engaged elsewhere…Walk down a sunny path in a park on your way to work, and your mind detours to the neighbourhood playground you grew up in, and you swear you can remember the strength of sunlight back then and its effect on your young body…When you wake up and splash your face with water in the morning, your attention suddenly diverts to your reflection in the mirror as a teenager, washing up in your childhood home for the start of the schoolday, as you anticipated the homework that would be waiting for you upon your return home.
It’s these powerful sensory memories that propel us forward by giving us a taste of the goodness that lies in wait for us, in honour of which, I’d like to propose a poem to commemorate the future, written in the past tense.
I’d like to immortalize my future…I’ve got plans to travel to all the most beautiful places on earth in someone else’s body to go incognito…To write songs for a retired electronic band from the 80’s and accompany them on tour…To be fruitful and among the healthiest of people…you get the idea. Maybe this is a little sci-fi, but it would just give me such a rush to concern myself only with the future and write poetry to capture the joys of achieving my dreams while my body gives way to natural forces.
My dentist thinks I’m a dreamer who needs to worry about practical things like only buying mouthwash without alcohol in it—apparently both Scope and Listerine can wreak havoc on my gums. He’s probably right, but from his sense of humour I can tell he’s in need of an uplifting experience for his psyche—he likes to joke about how he never listens to what his mom tells him, or his wife for that matter. Unfortunately, poetry often gets a bad rap from professionals like dentists—when was the last time you found a poetry book on your dentist’s coffee table, even though a nice nostalgic poem might bring a smile to our faces, in spite of ourselves?
Personally, I’d love to see a copy of Open Slowly by Dayle Furlong in every dentist’s office. Think about the ordinary events in your life that you’ve overlooked because you thought they were trivial. Like noticing the hot afternoon sun breaking through your bedroom as you paused for breath in the midst of an important assignment…pushing through the shining glass doors of your mom’s favourite stores and boutiques as you sought to find her perfect outfit…traveling across town to a new bookstore on a weekend to spend the afternoon sampling books you have no intention of buying…or listening endlessly to Forever Young by Alphaville while you write your next blog posting.
Can you honestly say that commonplace events from your past mean absolutely nothing to you? Amidst all the economic strife, health concerns, social calamities, would you be willing to forget all the times you persevered in spite of yourself to lead a real, honest life?