Please send me free information
and a color brochure. Promise me
that I can qualify for the job
of my choice. Use language
I can understand.
Assure me of pleasant dreams
when I go to sleep. I leave
the details to you. After I get rich
I will tell my present employer
what I have been
holding back, no longer needing
to pretend that I am happy
I have to say “Yes” to every
customer, when selling them
styles which highlight
their least attractive features, that I am
not frustrated that no one ever
invites me out a second time,
or that I pretend I think
that jokes are funny
when I miss their point. Offer me
advice I can take, since therapy
hasn’t worked. Show me how easily
I can become a licensed
or a court reporter by taking a series
of inexpensive on-line courses.
Diving off the deep end,
I will swim in a heated
unaffected by the weather, once I live
each moment unencumbered
in another part of town, in another
city, in another more nearly
Author’s commentary: "Interior Decoration" is an attempt to capture the sense of isolation that so many of us experience, feeling alone while surrounded by a throng of strangers, each of them with expectations that we can neither fulfill nor understand completely. We are constrained by our routines, at the same time we are being pushed to our breaking points. What's the joke here, we wonder, and who is it on?
Using irony as a method, this poem tries to find equilibrium amid the absurdities of life. Except when that isn't enough, or when mere survival isn't enough, it suggests that there might be a way out. We might dive off the deep end of a pool, rising back to the surface in some better world, which is also this world, only seen in a different manner. Pure astonishment and delight are not guaranteed, although of course they should be, because they belong to us in some primordial way that continues to elude us.
Michael Jewell is a poet, painter, and novelist living in Calais, Vermont. Two of his chapbooks have been published by Wood Thrush Books, and more recently his poems have appeared in The Shanghai Literary Review and Mizna. Samples of his art can be seen on his website.