Room Rated Out Of Ten- A Poem

  • Dusty Lamp— at least dusty on the bowl on top. Billions and billions of dust mites can live there, until their god remembers them. The other lightbulb is functional: 8/10
  • Books— just the concept: 10/10
  • Book One— a murder mystery where the heroine waited for others to solve the murder for her. People praised her as a strong female character. The author reads my work: 7/10
  • Book Two— not yet read: 7/10
  • Book Three— by an author who lost his mind the same way one loses a photo frame bought on vacation: 9/10
  • Books, Four Through Seven, Unread: 4/10
  • Bed I’ve used since age six— everyone says it’s lumpy and old. The bed’s not what keeps me up at night: 7/10
  • Magnetic Breakable Creativity Toy Sphere given by old friend— when I skype someone, my hands fidget, and I take the sphere and break it and reassemble it until my fingers are as red as the pieces. One day, I’ll skype her, and thank her for the gift without using it: 10/10
  • Modest Collection of two-dollar bills— Thomas Jefferson was our greatest president. He did own slaves. Now I own him. Anyway, two is my favorite number: 7/10
  • Idea Cards for stories and poems— all my writing ideas go here. If I die, the flashcards I didn’t use will be stacked up like the bricks of a ruined castle. The older the cards, the more important it will be not to disturb them: ?/10
  • Free Writing Journal— black, uncomfortably rectangular. For ten minutes, I write whatever comes to my mind. It’s a judgment-free zone: 7/10
  • Five-year-old Mac laptop— Everything breaks on me, except for what I use the most: 8/10
  • iPod Touch— Some tape holds the protector screen together. When I use this, I hold it like it’s a black bar over my eyes, hiding me from the rest of the world. It’s ruining my eyes: 10/10
  • Water bottle— A tall, blue cylinder. Ordered oasis in an ordered, barren room: 5/10
  • Stretchy arm bands designed for physical therapy— drooping, dried and dyed entrails: 2/10
  • Clock-radio used since eighth grade— red face, stocky build. Like the annoying friend who stays in your group for years: 5/10
  • Box of Maybe One Day Useful Tools— By tools, I mostly mean tape: 9/10
  • Bluetooth keyboard inside Box of Maybe One Day Useful Tools— purchased when neck problems arrived in my life. It’s straight in a way my neck should have been: 3/10
  • Harmonica gift from goddaughter— shining, evenly weighted, unused 6/10
  • Bowl of Marbles used to keep me out of bed during daytime but they never worked because I keep having to get up before I can scatter them on the bed to make sure I don’t fall back into it but I always will because there’s no mental power great enough to circumnavigate the waste that your existence is 4/10
  • Duct Tape— whenever you try to rip off a piece, the edge stays. You rip off more, and the edge stays thick and immovable as you treat away the rest of a roll. Like the past, or maybe a tree stump— 8/10
  • Scotch Tape— held inside what looks like a repurposed half of a dinosaur skull. Just a plastic one, of course: 10/10
  • Six-in-One tool given by grandfather— he won it at the family White Elephant game, but he knew I needed it. That’s him, all his life: 8/10
  • Notebook full of old writing— I should be generous and forgiving to my past self: 4/10
  • Original Story “Stand-Up Night in Solitary Confinement”— The paper is rough and crusty: 8/10
  • Original Story “The Chamberlin Tales,”— the paper is crumpled: 2/10
  • Original Story “Retmentis”— the paper is creased: 7/10
  • Original Story “22 of Us” –- the paper is whiter, never damaged by sunlight: 6/10
  • Original Story “23 of Us”— The paper is simulated on the computer: 7/10
  • Original Stories Never Written— These sprout from our mind unless we cut them off and serve them for dinner. They grow and grow and grow until we die, at which point they explode: Nothing/10
  • Original Screenplay “New Caveton”— The ink is dry: 5/10
  • Original Play “Best Story Ever”— The ink is smudged: 8/10
  • Original Story “The College Station All-Male Feminist Union” – the ink is fresh: 9/10
  • Green Storage Box— A treasure chest, filled with what last century would consider riches. Forget old treasures, we should try to break open the treasure chests of the future: 5/10
  • Green Storage Box on top of previous Green Storage Box— makes the first box less special: 6/10
  • Jeans (too tight)— Easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle…: 3/10
  • Jeans (ok size)— The needle still stings: 8/10
  • Bag I carry for weekly meeting with friends— old, worn, black, like your grandfather: 10/10
  • Cards Against Humanity set inside of bag— like the monolith from 2001, but with dick jokes. Maybe that’s what he saw in the stars. 10/10
  • No Shame Theater Archives— All the skits, poems, rants and magic of its thirty-year history. I’m caring for something older than me: oh-god-what-have-I-done/10
  • Slacks (too small): 6/10
  • Slacks (ok size)— The good number: 9/10
  • Shirts (all of them too small)— A quilt torn to shreds: 6/10
  • Shorts (all of them too tight)— soft, stiff, blue, black, torn, new: all contained by a number: 6/10
  • Black Hoodie, too small— I once visited a high school friend. We sat on a bench and talked little. Putting on this item felt like that moment: 9/10
  • Scarf— Modeled after the one in Harry Potter, rich red and yellow: 4/10
  • Medicine/Emergency Box of Supplies— saves lives. Has saved moments: 5/10
  • Ceiling Light— I don’t notice it: 7/10
  • Dancing Dust Mites in Sunlight— a sky in the window, a galaxy on a particle: 10/10
  • Dust 0/10
  • Towel— Black and Yellow, Hawkeye logo. Over the years, it shrunk: 6/10
  • Closet— no fantasy lands in there, nor anything else worth finding: 5/10
  • Big Black Suitcase I always need when traveling for some reason— could swallow you whole: 6/10
  • Trash Can 7/10
  • Box of No Shame Theater t-shirts— too small for me. Unlike all the other clothing, these always were: 4/10
  • Blanket #1, bought for college— beautifully patterned, but too brown. Ruins the whole image: 8/10
  • Blanket #2, in my family for years— light brown, not patterned. Thick. A third parent: 9/10
  • Pillow with a groove designed to help neck condition— 4/10
  • John Quincy Adams quote on wall— “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” Put something on presidential-looking paper, and people will believe anything: 9/10
  • Check from work for zero dollars— a mistake from my job. But when you fight, you love, and you raise children, that’s what your gift looks like: 0/10/10
  • Change for laundry machine 5/10
  • Poster “The Empire Strikes Back”— stylized like “Gone With The Wind,” cut out from a calendar: 8/10
  • Poster “Return of the Jedi”— a hand holding a lightsaber. Always pointing up: 9/10
  • Checklist of things to do when in a depressive state— scribbled in pencil. Hard to read in a good mood, impossible in a down mood: 6/10
  • Post-it notes of advice from therapist— see above: 7/10
  • Medicine (escitalopram)— so much in white tablets, never utilized because never used: 3/10
  • Medicine (risperidone)— Little pink pills, necessary to sleep. The tinted key to the worlds of dreams: 8/10
  • Medicine (naproxen)— painkiller. Its very presence in this room… well, maybe I need another painkiller: 1/10
  • Medicine (cyclobenzaprine)— Muscle relaxer. Not another painkiller: 3/10
  • Depression— …: 0/0
  • Book Eight: 1/10
  • Library Version of Book Eight: 7/10
  • Extension Cord: Slick and thick. Makes me think dirty thoughts. Otherwise functional: 8/10
  • Window Above Desk—sometimes, I see feet outside: 4/10
  • Theater props (including, but not limited to: rope, toy gun, Phantom of the Opera mask): 8/10
  • Desk: 7/10
  • Kleenex Boxes: 5/10
  • Receipt under desk— Guttenberg’s first scribbles on a blueprint took a long hike up a mountain to end up here: 4/10
  • Flag still in container— lined with quotes from old friends. Some misspellings: 8/10
  • Copy of previous flag that friends are using: 11/10
  • Swim Towel 9/10
  • Neck and Shoulder Relaxer Device— curved and designed like it’s from a sci-fi movie. The ones where the budget is inverse to the number of ideas: 5/10
  • Sunlight— The color-changer, the world-grower, the life bringer. Too bright: 6/10
  • Shade— I need sunlight to live. But why should I spend every moment living?: 8/10
  • Looseleaf Paper: 9/10
  • Poker Set: 2/10
  • Shoebox: 3/10
  • Magic: The Gathering decks— stories disassembled and organized by moments and characters. Perhaps what all stories look like in the mind? Should be able to sell these one day: 8/10
  • Belt: 6/10
  • Internet: 10/10, with rice 10.5/10
  • Floor: 6/10
  • White Wall One: 8/10
  • White Wall Two: 6/10
  • White Wall Three: 9/10
  • White Wall Four: 4/10
  • Broken Glasses: 4/10
  • Cheap Reading Glasses: 7/10
  • Main Writing Notebook—In the front sleeve is a sheet of paper. I asked friends to write on there words to motivate me. I took it seriously, they didn’t: 10/10
  • Pen— it wrote this poem: 7/10
  • This Poem: 6/10
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