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In the Age of Stress

After Tony Hoagland

What I want is no stress;
No need to get the blood pressure up..
No need to set off alarms on the watch-phone app.
No kick in the ribs that this must be dealt with NOW
like a flat tire or a tooth ache,
Or the bells and flashes when the computer crashes
Or news of pandemics spreading from China.

Let the guy behind me tailgate all he wants.
No social media hits, no problema.
Just gas up the tank when it’s half full.
The rent and phone are bills paid automatically.
I don’t really care which team wins.
What I want is no stress.

Ignore the GPS saying beware of roadkill ahead,
So what if there’s a long line at Trader Joe’s?
Why can’t I get a coffee with room for cream?
Why have to cringing in an elevator
as everyone taps on the cellphone
using their thumbs like giant insects?
Be cool when the parking meter doesn’t work.

Maybe I should crawl into the earth like a worm
and go to sleep with a book in my arms.
But first I must say my prayers-
Please lord of the heavens and the earth
Creator of the universe
Keep your grubby hands off me
And let me dream in a stress-free zone.

But, don’t give me fucking stress about death
Because I’m here, you know, so full of life.
I’ll take all that shit you throw at me,
All that stress that governs everything.

Last few words: 
I suppose I should say, "after Tony Hoagland", the master at this type of poem. This poem has been revised twice on this post.
Editing stage: 
Content level: 
Explicit Content


how to indent in this program. The poem looks right when I cut and paste, but when I publish everything goes to the margin.
Any ideas?

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

The only way I've found to indent is to use ..... and that looks bad in my opinion. Maybe one of the tech folks can tell us how

Hi Eumolpus, I find your poem up to date and more than adequate for our stressful times. My only nit is that it's too wordy, I think a great deal of clipping would improve it. Suggerstions follow, I mean removing what's between brackets.

What I want is no stress;
No need to get (the) blood pressure up (even up) a tick .
to set off alarms on my watch-phone app.
No sudden kick in the ribs to (be) deal with NOW
(like a) no flat tires or (a)tooth aches,
(Or the) no bells and flashes of (a) computer crashes,
Or (the news of) pandemics spreading from China.

A part to make these suggestions, take or leave.
Really enjoy the theme and ending. Will return.

"My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies; fairy tales of yesterday will grow but never die, I can fly, my friends.” – Freddie Mercury

the same thing as Gracy, and it's not a too difficult thing to pare down your work.
Lots of times when it gets too wordy, you can see right away where it is. I hardly ever have to change a line in order to
use the knife, so to speak. Of course, as she says, it's your work, after all and sometimes, you just need to have those extra words in there to make you feel better. LoL I like it anyway. P.S. Do you have a poetry reader, you might have to run it through that? I know that some versions offer the indent and paragraph stuff. ~ Geezer.

Our Chatroom is open 24/7 Feel free to use it for
keeping in touch We have poets around the world and it is fun
to have real-time conversations with those that are up
all night or on the other side of the world.

Eumolpus. All these things apply to me also. Please don't stress yourself out over too many words. Just play four bars (U.S. measures) of Am and then go C maj. (or listen to Beethoven's 'Fur Elise) and you'll be fine.

Critique is a compliment
Kind regards, Alan

Stress is you putting a gun to your head you want to die but you are to scared to pull trigger because you don’t want to face the enigma known as what comes after death. So still living but you cannot get the grotesque thought out of your brain for everyone person you see eventually die and you are living so you will also eventually die given time. I know how this feels because this is what constantly goes through my brain nearly driving me insane but I thought the illustrious shining gorgeously but even then I did think I would be criticized that goes without saying but every constant Thing I find my own heaven you write your own mockery of the same exact thing and even when I explain it to you you say oh if only I could I read it how did you criticize it sure I’m writing this while in the hospital and haven’t slept in two days because I thought my writing America would inspire people inspire people to rebuild our destroyed society or pollution or war I use in my writing personification imagery and symbolism and you don’t understand it you crushed my little wishes of writing . So now to lose my sanity and life.

Hlm life without literature is a life without logic.

Firstly by using just a few periods to end your sentences your comment became readable. Just do the same with your work. I never said anything bad about your work. the images and content may be great. All I suggested and continue to suggest us you make it possible for a reader to read. Use periods, commas, question marks. Make your work assessable.

The poem is a satire, and is not meant to be taken seriously. It tried to have fun with all the little annoying “stresses” we have and complain about in our daily lives. They are trite. The poem is self consciously trite. In the end the speaker is reminded about the big real “stress” out there: death. And that he wants no part of, as if he could choose.

There are many different stances in poetry. Continue to write by all means. How can I appreciate it if I can’t read it ? All I said to you was vary the style so I can read it.

Again I did not know your circumstances, and trying to give you obvious sound advise to me... if you want to share your work put in in a form that can be read.
I’m looking forward to that! Keep writing with that in mind

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

thats truly fabulous, don't come to tuscany, road rage is also still the rage!

Oh Eumolpus, this is hilarious and has all my own thought entwined, Right? why stress it doesnt make things better,
i love the imagery in the lift and actually all the imagery you have brought here, you make an excellent argument for the theme.
i do not dwell on not being here, nor do i dwell on where i was before i was born, thats just me.

your last stanza so good.

really very much enjoyed.

Thank you...Teddy

And the point of this poem was to be enjoyed, as we all have this stress factor in us and so many things “ bother” us. It’s the stuff of comedy. At the time I was reading a lot of poet Tony Hoagland who had this very dry humor, and was trying to emulate him. He is in the epigraph “after Tony Hoagland “. If you are unfamiliar, google some poems by him and be prepared to laugh. A master.
He died a few years ago. Nonetheless, on the google page he’s still listed as living. That fits his humor perfectly!

Thanks again

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

without stress
how would a lizard walk across the room roof
without falling Just think
If one has no stress
mind would become restless
mundane thoughts brain work-less
JUST MY THOUGHT YOU are a 23 rd C poet
with history ancient
centuries passed

Sad to hear about your mom's pass
My condolences ..
We all have come to go
I am now in Q
hope you knew....

"All that stress that governs everything." Yes that's what the poem is about, how life IS stress.But we focus all day long on the little stresses, but the big one always looms in the background.It's also suppose to be funny, in that dark Tony Hoagland way. Hope you know that poet, he was great,

It's now revised. Again. Two stanzas shorter. Keep revisiting your poems! Try to make them better!

Yes at 98 it was certainly my mom's time. so many physical issues but until the end, she was totally there. The mind never left. Amazing, Thanks for your thoughts.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

Emoul for your and Gracy's advice
SATURDAY night ...revised May review

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