The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

FEBRUARY 23, 2012 5:50PM

A Day in the Life

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I am tired

before the sun comes up

over the strip of highway

following other tired people

over the hills

downing the coffee

and changing the music

closer to the city

speeds increasing

I grip the wheel


I am tired


the same homeless girl creeps out of

her blankets

as the bus driver flips me off

I’m jolted back to my lane

and I am


so damn tired


the parking lot attendant catches my eye

over his book

under his woolen cap his world

a little booth

I make my way through

the snaggle of

corridors, elevators, equipment

up the down elevator

a whiff of coffee and bagels


swipe my ID,

fingerprint frozen



the room is hot

and smells like something

I don’t

want to define

a mixture of


what I don’t want to define


your dad is typing on his laptop

as I begin to push things aside

chairs, backpacks, briefcases, water bottles


my machine

closer to you

behind the wires

the oscillator

the ventilator

and 12 IV poles

mouth bubbling

eyes fixated, chubby legs bruised


arm wrapped around your dinosaur


I touch your chest

your heart now

on my screen

your heart

under my hands


and I begin to breathe.




 (banner photo Philly skyline,






  Bruce Springsteen - Streets of Philadelphia .mp3    Found at bee mp3 search engine

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Mounting, mounting ... the last line ~ tears, Rita.
On my first read through, I had to slow down . . . I didn't want to miss anything. On my second read through, the pictures fully emerged. On my third ready through, it hit me in the throat, in the heart, in the belly . . .

That's poetry. That's life through the eyes of a poet. Bless you for the work you do, Ms. Rita - both as a professional, and as a writer.
Kim, you got that so well, as per your usual seventh sense of what I am going on about. Sometimes it's surreal, the commuting and the cars, the folks all around: until. The it gets so damn clear. Crystal. Thanks so much Kim.
Owlie, glad it reads fast and out of focus; as above. It feels like that for me and I was trying to describe the mundane amidst someone's worst nightmare. And going back and forth from it. Happy to see you here.
What a journey. What a gritty, moving, wonderful trip. thank you!!
*then it gets clear.
"I’m jolted back to my lane

and I am

so damn tired"

Gorgeous, Rita. Wow.
Thank God for people like you willing to beat the tiredness, willing to brave the traffic, the cold world, knowing the important clarity of purpose upon arrival.
Poor darling chubby bruised legs...
that slow snap
you hit it

breathless ~
seconded, what Just Thinking said ~
keri h . . . Yes. We get tucker out.
Pooped ... It's to be so weary . . .
So tired we can't find no rest . . .
I felt like we rode shotgun . . .
Then - We had you take pulse.
You bet. . . belch, and heal us.
You sure are a healing nurse.
You take our blood pressure.
You plunged into our depths.
I wish you blessed rest, peace.
I'd love to take your heart rate.
Then - You and I go for a beer?
Rita, I am speechless. I have lived this and I was so damn tired. R
That you don't wanna define it scares me more than if you had. Glad the bus driver woke you in time. I breathed with you, Rita, until I read your tag. Then came the gasp.
An undulating journey like a heartbeat. Images rolling on the windscreen. I feel your head nodding. Journal poétique. Nice effect at the end: you finally breathe and the tension dissipates into contemplation.
Oh you are good. Have come to appreciate poetry much thanks to you R.

"the room is hot

and smells like something

I don’t

want to define

a mixture of

what I don’t want to define"
I relate to this
My heart goes out to you
You are really something, Rita. ~r
This is very powerful. It's hard not to keep going back and rereading.
So much going on-Had to read it several times-I am with Owl's comment all the way.
This wasn't a poem, it was a movie that I watched twice! R and tears and hugs.
Tense, frightening and solved in a way.
Ah, lovely Rita. Beautiful.

Z: philly is indeed gritty, the good the bad the ugly. and the the worst.
Thanks so much for reading.
Ferns: getting flipped off will anger me for hours. I know. Irish. Built that way. Thanks Ferns
JT: thanks, hoping my tiredness comes off the right way here, as not really important, as really small and meaningless in the clear light of what is next. Appreciate your appreciation, always!
Catch:Snap. what I was aiming for. TY poetess.
Art I have a slow heart rate. when I stand with my machine in a crisis I swear I get calmer. But a beer always helps. Thank you for sensing the weariness in the beginning of the poem.
Christine: I remember reading that you sure have. So very sorry.TY for coming by.
Jules: I know you know this one. Not the same exact lingo but the big picture. Thanks Jules.
Matt: like group breathing. need to do it more. You? Thanks Matt.
Undulating. ASH. what a word. glad that conjured it up for you. Always had a sensual feel to me but I guess you could describe the journey forward through the city that way too, especially across the windshield. TY.
Best compliment, that you like the poetry and also the meaning of what NOT defining; defines. Thanks Tr ig!
Damon: driving Philly is not for the faint of heart. Turbo. More turbo.
MCS: I know your recent journey includes close proximity to this. So sorry for the pain. And thanks for coming by, welcome here.
Thanks Joanie, for your support of the poems.
JL: I like that. TY
Spud: hope it is not confounding? glad you popped in tonight. I miss your face.
Zuma, thank you for viewing it. I like that analogy and sorry for the tears. Pirate Wimmins cry too. I do. I did. When the elevator doors closed.
Sheila: Solved. In a way very much so. Everyone's day was what is was. But someone's day was the very worst that hell could bring. Making tired seem very small indeed. TY.
Not a speck of whining here by you, Rita, the tiredness merely a speck as well.
Wonderful buildup to sadness.
As usual, Rita, a master with words; I was there with you when the bus driver flipped you off.
Well, hell, Rita! How can you ... write! while living THAT! How can you be that strong?
What really matters so personally and gut-wrenchingly given light here, Rita. Beautifully done.

But you're important as well ... so take care of you, too. Okay?
Care-giving is exhausting, but only after you have no more adrenaline left...
I appreciate this piece, a fine work, making me inexorably exhausted.
You touched on places we go and things we do every day and stayed to linger on the pain that some must live with while our lives go on.
Beautiful poetry
rated with love
Not words, bricks. Bricks construct this massive poem, then a small breeze comes around its corner.

Quite some poem here strong one!
JP: I thought it was 12 plus 5 plus one plus twelve plus five plus 1 plus five plus 1.
could be so very wrong.
winky emoticon: here
Geez JT: you know I needed that Catholic guilt relief. WWHHoo.
Thanks. Feel better now TY friend.
VictoriaC: thanks, glad you enjoyed. Love that hat.
Lea: sometimes feels like a mountain to surmount to that yes. what the hell am I here for anyway. Thanks Lea.
John. Doncha just hate that.
DiGranny: everyone has their niche something they can do. You have your's I am sure, that I could not even try. TY. DI.
Dead tired before you even get there, then you miraculously come to life as you take control. Magnificent.
flipping the bird in philly is an artform
the giving and receiving one
along the way it was
just real time,
it felt like
i felt

un beso rita poeta *
One is expecting the usual commuter plaint and then pow! right between the eyes. Bullseye, Rita. R
Thanks Lil, for some reason at some point, taking care of yourself becomes a real chore doesn't it thanks Lil.
MHold: bricks, a good analogy to what it feels like sometimes. heavy.
Janie: thanks for saying that, but the kids part is the easier part really it's all the other BS that gets in the way of that part. At least you feel you are doing something even quietly and under the radar that can help sometimes. TY DaisyJane.
Gary, i am struggling with loving the work, hating the commute and the rest. Life. the big L. Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate your input.
RP exactly. somehow not so bad to be just tired and whiny. ty.Mary.
Margaret: is that the way it reads? uh oh. no miracles here. tired again today, but moments of trying to rise above it I guess. Not having a sick kid is a real priority setter. Thanks Margaret.
BP: Thank you for thinking so.
II: you have obviously been to Philly. Closed bridges this month and everyone is frazzled and traffic is murder. Keeps you awake anyway. Thank you my poet friend.
Gerald: a little of both perhaps? TY for reading and commenting appreciate the support.
Surreal. I read the poem back through a few times to let it sink in, WOW. Lovely.

Automatic pilot, we all know it well, it gets us to where we need to be.
Hey what the heck? Is this Bum-out Friday?
You & Art James .
“describing the mundane amidst someone's worst nightmare. “
Him with his dead dog crawling to the newspaper, you with this exquisitely visceral , visually vibrant, Gut Punch…

Brought to mind the many trips I made over to Dad’s “REHAB” (hah..)
facility, every day hoping for the best, an improvement,
no more greenish yellow sputum coming out of his tracheotomy tube…
Every day “ going back and forth from it”, the stretch of highway,
that exit….the irony that he was in a place right next to the best damn library in CT…
and…also a darn fine strip joint…

“arm wrapped around your dinosaur…” shit..
Blast you, Rita ! : )
I got dad a little stuffed cat.
We named her “Moe” cuz Dad could not remember the name of our little kittie, Mae.
Named after his wife.
Eleanor Mae.
Some days he would hold the stuffed kitty in his gnarled huge hand close to his chest.
Other days? He would throw it across the room, “damn cat, ach!”

You & Art James have made me mighty melancholy, in a most lovely way, this morning.
Tears here as well. Exhaustion doesn't miss a beat. Neither do empaths.
Hi Asia, nice razzberry panties (sorry couldn't help myself!)
Thanks so much for reading and re reading, quite a compliment in that. Taking the time. Welcome here.
James, I know. I know. The dino got me good. I had to take a real deep breath. Art and I are going for coffee or 9% beer, come along.
The highway can seem strange after the hospital but it can also be a good cry time.
Belinda: sorry for the tears, thanks for the read!
nine percent beer!!!???
count me in!
art as we know drops off after three beers.
you being a woman probably drops off after, oh, one and a half?
i will put a red blanket over art's sleeping form.
and a purple one over you.
i will then have a fourth beer.
(and please, some damn peanuts!)
dang. i have come to read again, to attempt to absorb again. it still blows me away.

your writing.
your gift.
your strength.
your compassion.
your benevolence.
R-espectfully. They've said it all. You OK?
There's a particular kind of hell in the morning commute, and you captured it scarily well here. Is it continued upon arrival, or is it redeemed?
I wasn't sure where this was going.Well done.
There is a certain feeling of crushing exhaustion that goes along with caring for people we love more than possible who cycle in and out of health crisis. Anyone who has been through it knows it intimately. This was incredibly expressive. Certainly hit me in the tear ducts.
Beautiful compliment Di, thanks so much again!
TG- yeah, just feeling my age perhaps, I am fine, thank you for caring.
Nana, when i see the hell my kids and their families are going through it's hard to feel sorry for yourself. Thanks Nan.
Thanks Sarah.
OIT: I can only imagine when i see the havoc this type of illness wreaks on a family. Thank you. Welcome here.
c&v: thank you.
Oh Rita ... the all ... of this ... of you ...
"I touch your chest/your heart now/on my screen/your heart/under my hands/and I begin to breathe."

This made me cry.
*thank you

I thought I knew where you were, but then you made me remember where you are. every day. and you took me there. wow.

(just) wow.

you're right btw...this one I had to read.

this is life and death stuff you do. how do you do it every single day?

big real hug to you rita meter maid. you are so good in a lot of ways.
i've read this so many times since you first put it up, rita, finding more phrases and combinations and lines to love in it every time, hoping to come up with a comment that's worthy, but i just don't have the words. brilliant. careful. a word lullaby. none are right or enough. this thing is remarkable, and so are you, friend.
Rita, you are forgiven. Good lord, yoga bum first, in bra and panties (or was it a bathing suit, I don't know). Was a pretty color though!
anna I almost sent a pm out a day or so ago, I hadn't seen you around. Thank you always.
Alysa: sorry for that. As I said to Zuma. I cry too. Not at the moment but later. You have to be human after all. Thank you for visiting.
Monkey Lady: I never send announcements of posts, but I thought this one might interest you because of Cam and his journey. At one point he was the one holding the dino. People are drawn to jobs where they feel needed, people like me I guess, there are so many opportunities to to do small things, it is not one sided, you get much more back than you ever give. TY Monkey.
Aka Candace: As I was saying above, I hesitate to sometimes go on about the sadness but it's real, it's there for someone everyday. Also
February is heart month, it's a big thing in our field and I wanted to express what it's all about for me. Thank you Femme. Your words always carry weight with me because I admire your writing.
Asia: I liked your comment on the post "like a cat in heat" as I have never seen some of those poses quite that way either. Fun times!
I like the running soliloquy of what goes in and out of our mind while driving..was a walk through anothers life, that was so real kust by the way it was put together. Enoyed, almost as much as 'Miles'. :)
Not much I can add to all these glowing comments above. Fabulous. Hit me right in my heart.
Compelling I thought you were going to a ho-hum job at the beginning, but towards the end I realized you were going to care for someone but not sure if it is your dad or a child. Regardless I got tired for you, I hope the coffee was good. rated
Thanks Tril.
Cindy hey glad you remember Miles! thank you.
Desnee: I work in pediatrics, 'dad' is the dad of the sick child I am working to get towards in the poem, I worked and re worked how to make it less obtuse but still no say it outright in the poem, I like less is more but I realize it leaves people to wonder sometimes. Thanks so much for dropping by, welcome.
Wow, you took me to a place I wasn't expecting. Beautiful.
wow......just wow....

"and smells like something

I don’t

want to define

a mixture of

what I don’t want to define"

I just love that!!!!
Thanks Raz.. Boom i guess!
pensiveperson: welcome here, glad to see you, glad you liked that line, it's one of the ones I like too, and the dino.. the ones that hit you in the gut,the smell is undefinable.
Thanks Bleue! glad you are back...
OMG what is going here? Is this about to be a memorable moment?
Beautifully written and more too!
Damn you're good.
quite beautiful and yes "the drive" and the full awakening, taking it in, accepting, doing what you can in the heart of the city.
Thanks Kenneth and thank you for coming by.
I think this one is my favorite of yours.
Thanks Jules my friend, for coming back and reading.
boy you were darn tired then.
but u got yr breath back,after the assault on yr nostrils.
it is best when hearts
are under good hands.
good for the heart, they say.
Saw this in the feed earlier so I'm tryin' to bump it.
Reminds me of a line in a song by Arcade Fire,

I feel like I've been living in
a city with no children in it

...and something about a garden left to ruin by a millonaire...

that song is a love song between adults...but I guess this poem is as well, but the chubby legs and dinosaur friends never let anyone down.

Hope you feel the sun today, rita ~
Hey catch, I don't come by much anymore, so nice to see you have been visiting my spot and wish me well today, it was a kind of hurried sad day in Philly at work.
Thank you for your support always!
Great job. Very powerful. R.
Thank you Lyle. Appreciate you reading!
R., softly, and quietly.
Love the tactile and visual imagery of this piece.
Thank you Steve, welcome here..
Hi Sarah, nice to see you again, thanks very much for the kind and nicely worded compliment!
I saw You at Tom Cordle's.
He no sips Whiskey Cordial.
Some Folk are Cordial Sweets.
It's a Gentle Rain. No Hard Rain.
In PA we watch Cow Pee on Rock.
That's what Hicks Call Big Rain.
We'll have a Splash. Beer or Two.
Hello there Art, I fly through here at times, I see you and we Bump in the feed.
Summer is coming, time for Fat Tires and the Beach, the moon and crickets, maybe a road trip. I miss you.
Dear (not a innocent deer) Rita,
we were one second from a Bump.
I Forgot what I was gonna say?
okay. We meet in secret place?
I share secret soup recipe too.
No tell Col. Sanders - He fry.
He lied about his military rank.
He was really a PFC Chicken Cook.
He stole The Army MESS Recipe.
Military Kitchens are called MESS.
I saw a Pink Peonies This Morn.
The black ants season is here.
We Picnic we get ants in pants.
We'll sit a Morel Room Patch.
Hey Art, I felt that not so innocent bump...
Hi there old friend, a Morel patch sounds about right. Secret places and moonbeams, bicycles, sunflowers and abandoned beach houses. sparrows, blue robin's eggs and rockers with thatched seats. Old mirrors hung with wire and patchwork quilts, daisies, Art James .. these are a few of my favorite things..
Ha you two.

I just came to listen to the music I swear.