Succeed Better Yesterday – a Lyrical Essay

You wake up or you are trying to wake up. The day is beginning. No alarm today, just the rhythm of the body saying it’s time to get started or maybe it’s the thoughts returning which went to unfinished last night and are looking to pick up from where they last left off. It’s Wednesday. There’s no job to go to today. This is the usual. It’s been this way since as long as you can remember. At this point, you’re so used to this routine and this schedule that you request it off at each new job you get. A certain type of lifestyle didn’t suit you after you graduated college and then after awhile, that same certain lifestyle became too out of reach to even try on.

You look to the left. You see the door, the knob, and the lock is engaged. Separation of here and there feels safe and secure. A feeling to hold onto as you turn over and look up at the ceiling to survey the wood molding and the white paint above for answers which were lost in the questioning that took place while traveling across the floor to bed yesterday. Along with the feelings and sensations making a home of this place comes the return of those feelings in the back, shoulders, neck. Getting up is getting harder each morning but a day off seems to run away quickly so there’s no time to waste.

A day off is the only time to go shopping, do laundry, get to the bank and then really get going on what you want to do. There’s always work to be done. When you’re not at work, you’re looking at other places to work. When you’re not at work, you’re looking for ways to supplement your workday wages. When you’re not at work, you’re doing the work you learned how to do while you were in school. It’s time set aside to create. Time to put that knowledge to work that you learned so many years ago.

You get out of bed. Stretch out a bit. Nothing big. Nothing too time consuming just something to loosen the muscles up and then hope that a warm shower will finish the job of soothing whatever aches still remain. You step over the jeans that didn’t make it to the hamper because they were destined to be worn once more tomorrow. You walk past the chair which gives a couple of blue shirts a place to rest between work shifts. You walk past the table with the boxcutter sitting on it. The table where the key for heavy equipment is also placed along with a pair of gloves. The same table that gives residence to the stack of library books arranged according to due dates. The same table filled with the final notices from any company who can and did send them. You walk past the bookshelf filled with books you bought when you still could afford to buy some books back when you weren’t alone in this place. Back before you were alone with all this. All this to think about. All this to inventory. All this to pack up or leave behind when you can figure out a plan for how to get out of here.

 Then, you go into the other room, the only other room. In the bathroom, you sit down to think, to meditate, to do what you need to do. The first multitasking of the day begins on a cold toilet seat. A few breaths and the mistake of looking up at the hole in the ceiling precedes the initial desire to turn on the radio. The hole from the rain last month only seems to be getting worse and maybe unrelated but now a few ants have been getting cozy around your place too. You made a call last month to the landlord then to the super. Somebody was supposed to come but nobody did and now being late again with the rent you don’t want to engage in the argument that’s sure to come when inquiring again about the hole. You’ve been late every month for as long as you’ve been single now. You’re getting good at paying just before your landlord’s patience has depleted. You know they don’t want to go through the work of finding a new tenant and going through the eviction process and you know that you can pay this rent sooner or later but right now, there’s no way you can put together enough money for security and first month on another place. So, even if you find a cheaper place it’s still easier financially to stay here for now. Yet, you’re planning. You know a few couches you can use. You know of a few places that’ll take you on a monthly basis without a security deposit – provided you have good references. Been living here awhile but you’re still not sure you have a good reference from having put all that time and money into it.

You reach over and turn on the radio. Take a moment to listen to the Writer’s Almanac. Think to yourself about all those classes you took and about how one day you hope to hear someone talking about you and your work on there. You listen to Keillor talk about Hart Crane today and Frank O’Hara the other day and that’s a good enough way to start any day -you suppose.


Well, it’s time get off the pot considering you already did what you came to do. You turn on the shower. Let it run. Get it hot. Get out the rust. Give yourself time to take stock once again of all you have. You think about the date and when you get paid again. You think about how to spread out the money to cover you for the next two weeks. You think about how your rent is half of your month’s wages. You’re becoming a pretty good calculator now. You add and subtract all day long. Not only for the job when you’re doing inventory but also on a daily basis trying to budget out enough money for an unforeseen emergency as opposed to the emergency which your life has become since losing the second job and second losing the significant other. You think of Emerson and Self Reliance and all the essays and books sitting on shelves and how many boxes it would take to hold them all. And you think of all the money spent on them and how much money you might get for them. And you step into the shower and wonder if your best chance at success was as good as it was ever going to get yesterday.


Originally posted at:


Does Not Return

Home is another way of saying

faucets drip

after being turned off,

coffee dregs are good for gardens

and the underside of pillows

live in constant state of autumn

with cool fallen down

away from warm drool

released when sleep

needed soliloquy

-hollow-                               for the walls.

The edges are smooth and joined

but slip in seasons moving

The house is Pygmalion to a hundred


and does not return desire

to renter.