Instances of Wasted Ingenuity
by Dara Wier
from Hat on a Pond
Falling off a triangle.
Putting two fighting fish in one bowl.
Talking yourself into a headcold.
Falling off a rectangle.
Putting insects in ice cubes.
Talking yourself out of doorways.
Falling off a parallelogram.
Talking into a microphone.
Falling off a footstool.
Putting earplugs in acorns.
Looking into a teacup for trouble.
Talking yourself out of breathing.
Taking a nap on a drum set.
Eating a peach with an air filter.
Wearing a dress made of hand grenades.
Talking a mudslide back up a mountain.
Lighting a camp fire in a taxi stand.
Launching a boat on a horse trail.
Hiking in an elevator.
Falling into an envelope.
Discussing smuggling with customs officers.
Taking a cat to a dog show.
Falling in love with a toothache,
Questioning your thumbprint.
Looking for milk in a gas tank.
Kissing hydraulic acid.
Blindfolding a parking meter.
Falling over a water tower.
Reasoning with a baby.
Chances are the poem began in her mind with (at least the thought of) the last line. And look at what became of it. Each line could well be the first line of another poem. And it makes you think, doesn’t it, of hundreds of other instances — maybe you haven’t tried to kiss hydraulic acid but surely you’ve thought of using the metaphysical powers of your mind to prepare the night’s dinner or punched hard enough a wall to make a pain somewhere else go away, or fallen out of bed as you sprawled out on the wrong side, thinking, “now I’ll be comfortable.”