I just retired. It’s summer. Part of what I have been doing is going through “things.” Books, collections, photos, paperwork, magazines, files on innumerable subjects, artwork, wires and connectors (God knows to what), objects. Trying to pare down. To simplify.
But it’s so hard to do.
Will I need that accident report when our car was totaled 4 years ago?
If not, it might make for a great paper to print a woodblock on.
Will I ever look at, read, or use those large photo books by Zuckerman on Birds, xxxCreatures, and Wisdom ever again?
this torn out poem by Ellen Bass, “Relax,” from an old Poetry Review,
the Chinese sculpture of a zaftig maiden found on the street,
the 1964 map of Paris JB used on his first honeymoon,
the art deco clock that no longer works,
that 1956 ad for a Biflex bra,
the drawings made by students whom I no longer remember,
the drawings I made that I no longer remember,
the three copies of Colin McCann’s Let the Great World Spin,
the three deteriorating rubber Hindu finger puppets,
that WWI stuffed pillow from Fort Sheridan printed with illustrations of the fort and a xxxpoem called “Mother,”
the empty MacBook Pro box,
the Japanese bowl filled with broken jewelry,
that 2012 receipt from Sherwin Williams with the name of the color we painted on our xxxbedroom walls,
the jar of JB’s beard hair,
the scattered pile in a drawer of old non-“Forever”stamps,
that one-page poster of all of Shakespeare’s sonnets,
this pile of all of the old cell phones we have ever owned,
the bowls and baskets and piles of rocks from the beach,
the five pairs and three singletons of winter gloves,
the jar of shedded snakeskin,
this bag of small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion from various hotel xxxrooms,
the three kitchen knives too dull to use?
Why is it so hard to let things go?