Inventoree (Inventory)

Take a deep breath inventory
Of yourself
Do not count your hands or feet
Not your wandering legs or
Wavering arms

Do not take inventory of your clothes
Not of your favorite shoes or
Your special hat—not even your
Coat that you save for those cold,
Cold nights
Ignore your car—payments or paid off
Your home—apartment, trailer, mansion
Your work uniform—whatever that may be

Make emergency stops only
You are still several miles from
The intersection of contentment and identity
And you have not been there
In far too long
Do not take inventory of how you look
In a summer dress or a tuxedo and bowtie
Don’t count your history with
Drugs and alcohol
Don’t count your computer, your television
Or that collection of movies
Or albums
Or books that you’ve been working on
Don’t take account of your ability to curl
Dead weight
It’s just curling dead weight
Don’t count the number of visible abs
You have
Or your BMI

You are so much more than a body
You are so much more than possessions
Your body and belongings have not
Done you well to feel like you belong

Instead take inventory of your joy
You have some joy don’t you?

Count your friends
Count your love letters
Count the moments when it rains
And you have an umbrella
Count the last time you had strawberries
Count the start of every kiss
Count the paid off credit cards
Actually, count those twice
Because freedom counts for twice as much
Account for all of your freedoms
Take inventory of playing catch with your dad
Your last home-cooked meal
Account for the last time you rode a bike
When you didn’t think about exercise, you just felt the wind
Count the times you wrapped birthday presents
Count the smell of the last bouquet of flowers you were given
Count the last time you went to the zoo
And you swore, nobody ever fell in love with the
Animals quite like you did
Cause you have an eye for beauty
And you’re seeing it everywhere
Take a deep breath inventory of the beauty you have seen

And when you can’t seem to find anything that matters
To take inventory of
Count those dark moments where you still
Have the hope to rack your brain
To try to find a memory where you had joy
If you still have hope to try to find it
That is joyful
All on its own
Because I know they can be hard to find sometimes
Those things worth taking inventory of
But I have found the greatest of these things is love
Not the way I love Pulp Fiction and Casablanca
But the way I love my wife
And my father and my mother
And a good rescue
Cause that is what I’ve had—a good rescue
And life is sweet like honey
Not because it’s easy
And certainly not because I feel good all the time
But because I have found joy in a rescued life that I can hope in
When I take a deep breath inventory
I have to realize all I have is love
And I love the love
The rest will go away someday
But I will always count on love
And that is joyful all on its own


Arrogant Coffee

There are not enough
poems about manatees

If you are interested in human
rights being kicked like a dog
and justice being dragged
through mud, you can find it

If you are interested in love
that aches with a “burning
heart” or a “bleeding soul”
you can find it

If you are interested in death
that holds out its hand
to you like relief, or takes
one too early, you can find it

But where, I ask, do you find
a badger in a turtleneck?

Or a cup of coffee that doesn’t
sound so self important?

If you’re interested in the
ocean or the sea or maybe
a single “crushing wave
of emotion,” you can find it

If you’re interested in God
dying to save you, or God
abandoning you to the darkness
you can find it

If you’re interested in athletics—
especially running towards
dreams and horizons—and
losing and winning, you can find it

But where, I ask, do you find
a good left-handed centipede?

Or a wonderful, ice cold beer that
doesn’t turn into alcoholism?

If you want to find a poem about
how the “gray rain spills from
the clouds like the pain”
you can find it

If you don’t want to find a poem
about rain you’ll still find it
(cause those rain poems
are everywhere)

If you’re looking for a poem
about regret and forgiveness
and cruel mercy making false
promises, you can find it

But where, I ask, do you find
a barbarian ballerina?

Or a cigarette whose smoke doesn’t
outline the shadows of a lost soul?

Show me these things, show me
a fat manatee, and I will finally
take a deep breath and smile