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Life

Joe Brainard

        When I stop and think about what it's all about I do come up with some answers, but they don’t help very much.

        I think it is safe to say that life is pretty mysterious. And hard.

        Life is short. I know that much. That life is short. And that it's important to keep reminding oneself of it. That life is short. Just because it is. I suspect that each of us is going to wake up some morning to suddenly find ourselves old men (or women) without knowing how we got that way. Wondering where it all went. Regretting all the things we didn't do. So I think that the sooner we realize that life is short the better off we are.

        Now, to get down to the basics. There are 24 hours a day. There is you and there are other people. The idea is to fill these 24 hours as best one can. With love and fun. Or things that are interesting. Or what have you. Other people are most important. Art is rewarding. Books and movies are good fillers, and the most reliable.

        Now you know that life is not so simple as I am making it sound. We are all a bit fucked up, and here lies the problem. To try and get rid of the fucked up parts, so we can just relax and be ourselves. For what time we have left.


About this poem:
"It's funny that such a modest person as Joe would tackle such a grand subject as life and try to cover it in so few words. The mingling of quiet humor and ruefulness make this piece, like much of Joe's writing, so rich and moving."

Ron Padgett

From The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard, edited by Ron Padgett. Copyright © 2012 by The Estate of Joe Brainard. Reprinted with permission of The Library of America. www.loa.org. All rights reserved. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 11, 2013.

From The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard, edited by Ron Padgett. Copyright © 2012 by The Estate of Joe Brainard. Reprinted with permission of The Library of America. www.loa.org. All rights reserved. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 11, 2013.

Joe Brainard

by this poet

poem
Sometimes
everything
seems
so
oh, I don't know.