Why We Don’t Buy

By Harmony Button

I never used to snooze. It was the button on my 1990s Big Lots clock radio that I never fully understood: why wake up just to suffer in limbo, knowing more real sleep is not an option? Then, I met Jason, and suddenly I started wearing skirts, hitting snooze, and learning to cook artichokes. Jason is a handyman photographer who knows how to appreciate poetry: with a spoon, unwittingly. Sometimes, I catch him mouthing words just for the sound of them. Festoon, my breadbasket Rothschild! he rumbles from the belly, impatient at red lights. I had found my own dream of a common language. I found, at least, a basis for comparison.

Like most other addictions, snoozing leaves me disoriented and unsatisfied, and yet, I really do enjoy it. I can take a look through the spyhole in the door and tell the morning knocking to be patient while I find my slippers, fix my figurative coffee. The morning steps back, wall-eyed face blurring into sight, and shuffles foot to foot, a package of day in his hand. He rings again. Leave it on the doorstep, I shout from inside, but the muffled voice of morning says I have to sign for the delivery. I sigh and open the door, clutching bathrobe tight at the neck. It’s a new day, the morning says, handing over the package while I sign on the dotted line. Funny, I say, I thought it might be my new self.

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This Word Is Earth

By Harmony Button

Begin with a definition: we know where to go.

We become thoughtfully troubled that despite being called “The Dictionary,” there is not only one, but in fact, many, many different dictionaries.  Like a child discovers that the authority of one parent does not always completely coincide with the authority of the other, so we find that The Dictionary offers a deceiving sense of unity.

We compare our parents.  Merriam’s spine is cracked and tired, and her pages drag.  We find the uncles online — Oxford & Cambridge — but they aren’t as popular as good ol’ daddy D-dot-com.

I introduce a source the students soon name “Ed” because the O is silent, like in Oedipus!

No, says another, his name is Owen.  Maybe there’s another Owen in his class, so he just goes by Owie D.

I am secretly delighted.  I make a note to self: in my free time, I should create a fake profile on some social media network under the name of Owie D, and only post smart and snarky etymological comments.

In my free time, I should drink less coffee, take more trail runs, sleep at least eight hours every night.  In my free time, I should read books and write poems and make my own veggie soup bouillon.  This is the myth of adulthood: there’s such a thing as time you get for free.  There is always a price, always a something you are not doing, instead.

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