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Joy Williams poet

Do less

by Joy Williams

No one knows how
We got here.

Time lost focus –
A whole day’s worth.

Still, perhaps it’s okay
Sometimes. In fact,

Sometimes we must
Look to the ocean

Nestled comfortably,
Dwelling deep

Even under these constraints.

Poetry is not a luxury

            for Audre Lorde

The quality of light
Has direct bearing
Upon this form

This illumination
Nameless and formless
Births dark within

Hidden and growing
Your beautiful nightmare
Of places within

These places are dark
Are ancient
Have survived

Within each of us
It is dark
It is ancient

We come as
A desperate wish
We come cobbled

By daily lives
Not idle fantasy
The skeleton of lives

The foundation
Of what has been
Neither forever nor instant


Who cares if it isn’t
Real. You were born.
You took your first

Breath. No longer
Existing inside
The future, but

Distinct, astrologically
Speaking. The uses
Are vast and varied.

As a mirror offers
Reassurance and
Alchemy, serious

And vaguely silly,
The reality of the sky
Seems its own kind

Of magic. A chance
To see mirrors
Inextricably linked

To other mirrors,
All looking up. But
The sky isn’t enough

If you want to know,
Ultimately, why
Oceans rise, forests burn.


If you hate your job.
If you have a job you dislike.
If you have an unpleasant job.
Please consider building a ritual.
You are free to create one
Anywhere, any time.
There is no place and no time
Not possible.

Keep it simple at the start:
Go to the refrigerator.
The possibilities are endless.
Reach for the milk,
The leftovers,
The hovering moth.
Outrun patterns,
Inhale coffee beans.
If the coffee does not work,
Stare straight ahead.
This always works.

Note: It is essential to do this
Sitting. Feet flat, back straight.
Close your eyes fast as you can.
Repeat. When finished,
Repeat once more.


Since the pandemic struck, Joy Williams has been holed up in her apartment writing and wishing she had a dog.