111: Bored


I'm US poet laureate, Tracy case Smith, and this is the slowdown. I remember childhood as slow quiet and lit by an ever-present, California, son. I have multiple vivid memories of staring up at trees and staring past the trees at clouds of picking handfuls of grass and throwing them into the wind of watching ants and birds of watching cars glide past and waving at the people inside them. I thought my life was boring riddled with absence a never ending idle after noon, I dreamt of growing up and getting away from my parents house in our small town of going some place where things happened now. I look back at all of that daydreaming as a luxurious freedom the freedom to get to know the sound of my own thoughts. I suspect that all those after noons devoid of str-. Lecture devoid of any real purpose are probably responsible for my becoming a writer because I was so bored. And because boredom invites the mind to wander to wonder to be imprinted by all the little strange and wonderful pieces of the world. It happens upon. Is it just me or does the world feel different? Now, it seems like long days and interminable weeks have gone extinct my time. And I suspect yours too is suddenly spoken for even children have pleased to be appointments to keep shuttling mind from school to sports to music to swim class. I think wow, all it took was a generation or two for boredom that wonderful laboratory of the imagination to be almost completely eradicated. Today's poem is bored by Margaret, Atwood. And it makes me think foil for the days, I spent paying attention to all the many small nothing's that once made up my life board by Margaret, Atwood. All those times, I was bored out of my mind. And holding the log while he sought it holding the string while he measured boards distances between things or pounded stakes into the ground for rows and rows of lettuces and beats which I then board weeded or sat in the back of the car or sat still in boats sat sat while at the prow stern wheel. He drove steered paddled. It wasn't even boredom. It was looking looking hard and up close at the small details. Myopia the warn gun Wales. The intricate twelve the seat cover the acid crumbs of loan the granular pink rock, it's Ignace veins. The sea fans of dry moss, the blackish and then the graying bristles on the back of his neck sometime. Times. He would whistle. Sometimes I would the boring rhythm of doing things over and over carrying the wood drying, the dishes such minutia. It's what the animal spend most of their time at faring the sand grain by grain from their tunnels shuffling, the leaves in their Burrows he pointed such things out, and I would look at the horrible texture of his square finger earth under the nail. Why do I remember it as sunnier all the time, then although it more often rained and more birdsong? I could hardly wait to get the hell out of there to anywhere else. Perhaps though boredom is happier. It is for dogs or hogs now, I wouldn't be bored. Now, I would know too much now. Now, I would know. The slowdown is a production of American public media in partnership with the library of congress and the poetry foundation.

Coming up next