I keep a to-do list to organize my head
but it strikes me very strangely
that the longer I live, the longer it gets
which seems like faulty math
though I never was good at numbers.
Here is a math word problem:
if you could put all the world's theoretical physicists
on a scale and add up their body weight then
take this number and multiply it by 3.14...etc
what would you get?
Here is my to-do list:
- play nicely with others
- continue not having cable
- buy groceries and put them away
- learn to talk intelligently about string theory
- finish reading Infinite Jest*
- fall in love
- stay in love
- live in a van for a year
- write a poem about theoretical physics
- be so joyful it feels like dying
and the lack of cable with admirable ease
but love and string theory remain mysteries
as does infinity and, of course, infinity's
unproven sense of humor.
Jest, like love, has no physical weight
and cannot be added to the scale and multiplied by pi
even if all those theoretical physicists moved over
(doubtful) to make room for it.
I dream of living in a van and one night
camping in a spot so quiet I could hear the stars hum,
so still I could feel the invisible atomic fibers of my being
vibrating at just the right frequency
and then all would become clear: this finite being
this theoretical physical body that is me
knows the recipe for joy so great it splits me in two.
Now I'm crossing items off the list
though it is out of order; playing nicely with others
almost always comes after joy breaks me open
and poking Infinity in the ribs with an elbow
gives me a sense of accomplishment on a par
with distilling physics down to words.
I do not jest about death; it's on the list, if nothing else
We have to stop somewhere.
*I know two people who have finished Infinite Jest, but they were unable to tell me what it was about. So maybe this is a loophole; I could just not finish it, and if anyone ever asks what it's about, I'll make something up.
**I thought this would be a good thing to put on the to-do list, because I know without a doubt that someday I will actually get it done.