1. The semester could be closer to over.
2. I could feel more motivated in the meantime.
3. I could win a prize of some kind. Any prize, really.
4. My kitchen could be cleaner.
5. There could be fewer puffs of dust and dog hair in the corners and under things.
6. I could have a sparkling social life.
7. There could be a new (or new-to-us) sofa to facilitate #6.
I took a new poem to my writing group a couple of weeks ago. One of my fellow poets summarized the argument of the poem this way: "I read this poem as saying what a lot of Lisa's poems say--'I'm so lazy.'" Uh, ouch! And so sadly true. So:
8. I could write a poem that isn't about feeling lazy and unmotivated. Or I could write this:
Open Letter to the Rest of the Semester:
Rest of the semester, why do you seem so long to me, at this darkening part of the year? Is it because you are constructed of type, words, electronic bits, compilations of documents stacked, physically or digitally, against my doorjambs? Is it because, though the days are shorter, the nights are longer? Is it because I must now bundle up to withstand your cold, slow breath on my neck?
Rest of the semester, I am sick of how you recur, every October and every March. I could blame myself for how dragged out I feel--shouldn't I be self-actualized? Shouldn't I be better at doing my job? Shouldn't I buck up and get to work? But I'd rather blame you, Rest of the semester, because you are a big, hulking Representative of Institutional Learning, with your files and clips, your endless requests for feedback, your constant evidence that I haven't done enough and will never do enough. It is all your fault.
Rest of the semester, I would rather go to sleep and dream of a preposition-correcting-algorithm, as I did last week, than face you. I would rather clean up my kitchen and do my laundry. I would rather be a housewife with the "problem that has no name" than a community college teacher facing you, my problem with a name, Rest of the semester. Rest of the semester, take your action somewhere else. What is your damage, Rest of the semester? Rest of the semester, give it a rest. I really, really mean it.