Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day 3 of the April challenge: exis-what?

I have reached Day 3 of the month-long poem-a-day challenge at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. This might just be a new record for me. I've never made it to January 3 with a new year's resolution, or to the third day of a fast, or even of a feast.

Of course, "making it" to Day 3 involves actually producing a poem on the subject of the challenge, when Kerry has managed to dredge up an old bugaboo of mine: the subject of existentialism. Not a favorite.

Wikipedia photo
Jean-Paul Sartre
It was a subject held in high regard when I was young. My friends flouted and spouted the existential works and words of Jean Paul Sartre, when I couldn't even get close to there. Having been thoroughly and happily raised with an awareness of humanity's interconnectedness, I didn't even want to try to wrap my mind around the idea of every-man/woman/child-for-him/herself.

Besides, Sartre had just turned down the Nobel Prize for Literature. What kind of damfool writer would do that?

It would be too much to say I was dismayed by Kerry's choice of subject for today. I wasn't very wide awake when I first read it, so let's just say I was slightly stunned. By the time I woke up enough to take it all in, the following ditty was fermenting (or fomenting?) in my sub- (or semi?) conscious mind.

A Woman as an Island
Kay L. Davies, April 3, 2013

I am alone on the continent now...
who would have guessed my particular unfittedness
would protect me from The End?

everyone was outside,
but I was napping,
and they watched the rockets hit them as I slept.

breathing through the distilled water
of my sleep apnea machine, I didn’t inhale
the dust that killed my world.

I am alone in that world now...
owing nothing to anyone else, except thanks
to my late, compulsive-shopper husband

who filled every nook and cranny of the house
with single-serving cans of hearty soups
which he bought to earn triple Airmiles.

I will eat, and I will sleep,
and perhaps some day I’ll get around
to reading Sartre’s books, ignored in school.


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh what a cool response. I just posted mine, which has an island in appears when we think existential, we both think: Solitude!

Well, who can THINK with people chatting????? good one, Kay!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Without doubt, this is my personal favourite poem of yours EVER, Kay!!!!
Wow! I wish I had written it - but there is your signature voice, your tongue-in-cheek approach and you have smacked this existential challenge out the ball-park.

Marian said...

oh, man, i love this LOVE this in all caps. also, now i need a nap!

Sabio Lantz said...

fun autobiographical poem -- fun, serious and philosophical all at the same time

wordcoaster said...

I like this a lot! Nice critique of existentialism :)

hedgewitch said...

Made me chortle with this one, Kay. I love the logical premise behind the spoof, too, esp. the compulsive shopper husband. (Have you been looking in my cabinets??) ;_)

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

I feel like this sometimes--actually, I guess --often--I loved this piece on so many levels--my affinity for the emotional overlay, the soup, the Sartre--

Fireblossom said...

Survival of the unfittest! Don't worry, mom, I'm on my way, to help you go through all those groceries!

Mama Zen said...

This is too cool, Kay!

Helen said...

This is a keeper, Kay ... loved it!!!

Susie Clevenger said...

Love it! You rocked the challenge!!

Jo said...

You grabbed the challenge with both hands and threw it on its head, Kay. Your writing is always good and I love visiting your blog,(to try and soak up the brilliance!) but this is my favorite by far. (((Hugs)))Jo

Emma Major said...

would you want to? I remember thinking about surviving an apocalypse when I was really young and always deciding I wouldn't want to survive. it's interesting to ponder again

Daryl said...


Susan said...

I concur with all just said. You cut to the core of Sartre whether or not you ever cracked a book cover. Bless your husband and you and your powers of observation and humor. It is the ironic laughter that is Sartre's best medicine! said...

This one had me laughing out loud. I never understood Sartre, and I despise Ayn Rand (though I don't think she was a professed existentialist, she might as well have been).

Your taking it beyond the nuclear disaster to your "accidental" safeguards - the C Pap machine, the canned food... but you are all alone. Well, I guess that fits the "unique" part, unless you find other sleep apnea folks!! Loved it, loved it, Amy

Jinksy said...

I'm glad your morning mind boggled at the existentialism theme, too! LOL

Margaret said...

You don't need his book anymore :) This is hysterical.