How To Be Sad

by Rowan Luis

Wake up blue
feel more tired
than when you went to sleep

Lie still,
don't move.

Survey room from bed,
see plates of mold concealed by hats
an empty bottle of rum

Hear the phone ring downstairs
don't get up.
Feel guilty


Check for post;
Find none.


Go to the kitchen,
stand in the middle of the room
from the washing-up to the empty washing-up bottle
sigh inwardly

Look to where a table should be;
in its place are under-the-table items such as a laundry basket and recycling
sit down on the chair that should be next to a table

Stare at the floor until you remember why you're there,
curse your body for feeling hunger

Check cupboards
find no breakfast-food items,
hang off the cupboard door
stare at the dried lentils

Force yourself to fill the kettle with water
and switch on to boil

Slide the bread-bin lid slowly
wonder at its mechanism.
Find an insultingly tiny amount of crust left


Realise the kettle's not on at the mains

Open housemate's cupboard
feel deflated at the abundance of food
go off on a tangent in your head about how much better they are at life than you.

Stand in something rank and sticky on the floor,
don't bother checking what it is

Pour hot water on tea bag
Steal cheap cereal

Sit on the table-less chair
eat very slowly
taste nothing

Remember the tea and add tea-bag to pile
think of sex and how much you need it

Look at the washing up,
turn on the hot tap
plunge hands in
note the pain

Rinse greasy plates
look outside the window
see the sun,
wish for rain

Feel tired
check the time:
it's still morning


Go back to bed
feel empty in the middle
try and hold arm up for as long as possible whilst lying down
count to a hundred and drop


Posted on 06/26/2010
Copyright © 2021 Rowan Luis

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Morgan D Hafele on 06/26/10 at 01:28 AM

you nailed it.. so close to many a day i've had... except rather than ever go back to bed, i just stare at it, never able to go back for some reason.

Posted by Anne Boulender on 06/26/10 at 02:34 AM

i like this because it describes a series of every day lusterless events but is still interesting and convincing for me.

Posted by Therese Elaine on 06/26/10 at 02:43 AM

The millions of mundanities that set themselves in front of you, demanding attention, devouring contentment, until you find yourself damning your internal clock, your infernal bad luck, and your total lack of sex and rum...yeah -that's about the gist of it.

Posted by Linda Fuller on 06/26/10 at 04:20 PM

Oh boy, can I relate to parts of this - the unexamined rank stickiness, the return to the bed...although I wouldn't bother raising an arm. And now I understand How to be Happy - hope it worked for you :)

Posted by Joan Serratelli on 06/26/10 at 06:55 PM

Well, you just described my life.

Posted by Coleman Demiurge on 07/01/10 at 08:55 PM

Wow, this is very impressive. See the sun, wish for rain... I know those days very well. Really excellent piece.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 04/01/21 at 12:24 PM

Excellent capture. Glad I finally caught up with this one.

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