When I stop and think about what it's all about I do come up with some answers, but they don’t help very much.

        I think it is safe to say that life is pretty mysterious. And hard.

        Life is short. I know that much. That life is short. And that it’s important to keep reminding oneself of it. That life is short. Just because it is. I suspect that each of us is going to wake up some morning to suddenly find ourselves old men (or women) without knowing how we got that way. Wondering where it all went. Regretting all the things we didn’t do. So I think that the sooner we realize that life is short the better off we are.

        Now, to get down to the basics. There are 24 hours a day. There is you and there are other people. The idea is to fill these 24 hours as best one can. With love and fun. Or things that are interesting. Or what have you. Other people are most important. Art is rewarding. Books and movies are good fillers, and the most reliable.

        Now you know that life is not so simple as I am making it sound. We are all a bit fucked up, and here lies the problem. To try and get rid of the fucked up parts, so we can just relax and be ourselves. For what time we have left.

From The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard, edited by Ron Padgett. Copyright © 2012 by The Estate of Joe Brainard. Reprinted with permission of The Library of America. www.loa.org. All rights reserved. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on March 11, 2013.

          We had a grief
we didn’t understand while
          standing at the edge of
    some low scrub hills as if
humans were extra
    or already gone;—

what had been in us before?
          a life that asks for mostly
    wanting freedom to get things done
in order to feel less
          helpless about the end
    of things alone—;

when i think of time on earth,
    i feel the angle of gray minutes
          entering the medium days
    yet not “built-up”:: our
work together: groups, the willing
    burden of an old belief,

          & beyond them love, as of
    a great life going like fast
creatures peeling back marked
    seeds, gold-brown integuments
    the color time
will be when we are gone—

From Extra Hidden Life, among the Days. Copyright © 2018 by Brenda Hillman. Reprinted with the permission of the author and Wesleyan University Press.

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.
Remember.

“Remember.” Copyright © 1983 by Joy Harjo from She Had Some Horses by Joy Harjo. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

              10

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

Copyright © 1956, 1984, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust from The Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, Edited by George J. Firmage. Reprinted by permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.