Monday by Alex Dimitrov I was just beginning to wonder about my own life and now I have to return to it regardless of the weather or how close I am to love. Doesn’t it bother you sometimes what living is, what the day has turned into? So many screens and meetings and things to be late for. Everyone truly deserves a flute of champagne for having made it this far! Though it’s such a disaster to drink on a Monday. To imagine who you would be if you hadn’t crossed the street or married, if you hadn’t agreed to the job or the money or how time just keeps going— whoever agreed to that has clearly not seen the beginning of summer or been to a party or let themselves float in the middle of a book where for however briefly it’s possible to stay longer than you should. Unfortunately for me and you, we have the rest of it to get to. We must pretend there’s a blue painting at the end of this poem. And every time we look at it we forget about ourselves. And every time it looks at us it forgives us for pain.
Monday is a distracted poem about life and its distractions. The first stanza is lovely, like it was something a friend you haven’t seen in three years would say in a café in the afternoon: “I was just beginning to wonder about my own life…” This sets the tone of the poem: convivial, confessional, intimate. The last few stanzas reminds me of Ashbery, from the way it talks about the shared disappointment of having to stop wallowing in the middle of a book, to the abstraction of imagining a blue painting, to reflecting on itself as a poem, a form – the very form – that he orders us to anticipate and imagine: like the blue painting, the poem lets us forget about ourselves, looks back at us and forgive us for pain.
And what else can anyone think about when starting to read a poem? Reading one is a commitment to forget about ourselves – in my case, it was Tuesday morning, someone posted this on Instagram, and I read it in one sweep and was teary-eyed and crushed. And what else can anyone think about when finishing a poem about life, if not to think about life, distractedly, in front of our screens, and wish (to use the poem’s words) for however briefly that it’s possible to stay longer in a poem than one should?
Whether it’s a book, a poem or a day, unfortunately, for me and you, we have the rest of it to get to. Oddly, the poem gives one a sense of purpose, in all its inquisitiveness and rhetoric: personally, all life should be about is that momentary feeling of wonder.