Proper Abecedarian 23: To-Do by Devon Miller-Duggan

Alabaster, like paper, comes in other shades, but both conjure white.
Buoy can be both warning and elation.
Candle is both object and measurement (lumens). But a to-do list is always a
dump into which
effusions of hope, greed, good intention, self-salvation
feather themselves out like letters turning into flocks. I
grant myself permission to not do the things in order—which should help,
heterodoxy being my natural mode,
ill-got though mode and moderator might be. Still, it’s a
jewel among lists, my between-semesters-optimism. Bullshit.

Knee it in its groin and/or kneel before it. Neither works.
Linger over its construction as if it were a sestina, or me a
monkey digging with a stick for delicious ants.
Nitwit. The bi-annual exercise in futurity is itself
oxymoron: to-do…LIST,

Pretty sure the only thing done will have been words on a page, a
queue where every time someone gets on the bus, another schlub joins the line, a
roundabout without road-signs and the same convenience store at each cardinal point, a
slew of improvements doomed to molder on the page while I’m on the
terrace with scotch/rocks in a mug and a mystery novel.

Unfailing, my knowledge of what wants doing. And my supply of
venom for each new day’s bright, fuzzy start.
Whole enterprise is ritual void of real presence.
Xenodochial necessities (friends & relations) kill off what intentions inertia doesn’t. Look at the
yard—onion grass rampant and inedible, flowering and getting more done than I.

Zounds! Desk eats page! Squirrels scratch out seeds! Some things get satisfied…

# # #

Devon Miller-Duggan found herself with a rainy afternoon at the beach, a bag of children’s plastic ABC sand molds, and a copy of Twyla Tharp’s book on creativity. Over the next year, 52 disorderly and proper abecedarians happened. She blames it on turning 60. Her book, Pinning the Bird to the Wall, was published by Tres Chicas Books in 2009. A chapbook, Neither Prayer, Nor Bird, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2013.

Photo credit: Matt Tran


Leave a Comment