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THINK NOTHING OF IT
by April Halprin Wayland
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There’s gotta be a word for this.
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For that thing that happens
when I need new tennis shoes
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and then–wow!–look at all the tennis shoe commercials on TV!
and suddenly everyone is wearing tennis shoes.
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Or when I’m walking home, it’s kinda late,
a mom yells, “Dinner time!” out a window,
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and suddenly I smell sautéed onions
coming from the house I’m passing,
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and I smell bacon floating out of the next,
and chicken and rice out of the next.
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Or like today, a college girl, buttoning her green and pink
striped sweater,
nearly tripped on the striped floor of the mall,
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and suddenly I noticed the guy in the candy place
was wearing a striped rugby shirt
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and selling huge red, white and blue
striped candy suckers.
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So I tried thinking about circles.
About donkeys.  About ice cubes.
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But a curly-haired kid in a stroller let go of
his purple and yellow striped balloon,
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which got stuck
in the striped wood of the rafters.
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ACK!
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I tore out of the mall and into the sunshine
which fell in stripes over the striped crosswalk
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just as an orange-striped cat was running across the street
and a car with black racing stripes was rounding the corner.
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There’s gotta be a word for this.
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(c) 2011 April Halprin Wayland, all rights reserved
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The story behind the poem:
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I was sitting on the grass at UC Berkeley with my notebook and pen, watching students, professors and parents pass by, wondering what to write about. Then¬†I remembered how I distract myself if I’m nervous or don’t want to dwell on something. ¬†I think of a color, like red, and then look for the things around me that are red. ¬†It always works and it always astonishes me how many items I find, no matter what color I pick.
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With that in mind, I began to notice the checks and stripes people were wearing…and my mind was off and running.
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I put it into an Envelope Poem, so named because the contents of the poem are sealed between the same line at the beginning and at the end.
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It’s your turn. ¬†Pick a color or a shape or a pattern and look for it as you take a walk in a park, a school, a town. Now, write an envelope poem.


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