Read Poem: STUFF, by Katherine Darlington

I have a lot of it, more than I thought I did, and in the past couple years
I spent time going through Stuff I owned that I stored in my pale red barn, out back
Where the horse stall fell and chickens claimed as their roost a year or so back

Stuff, like Aunt Mary’s old plates and my mom’s wedding dishes and a plethora of purses
Because that’s one thing I like (purses) but it doesn’t matter, does it, all this stuff, because
It just clogs up my mind and my heart and my arteries and the blood that carries oxygen slows
And I can’t breathe and I’m wondering why did I get all this stuff? It hurts
It suffocates
And I look at the Eiffel Tower, because I bought it when we were there, in France, years ago
But now all it brings me is grief so I placed it in the donation box.
It got a new home.
I don’t mind any more. I feel free! But there’s a secret!

The secret, (there’s always a secret)…

I don’t donate everything, because some things must be buried, be it in a Dumpster
Or in the kitchen trash or in the ground…
There are things not even man should touch again and these things were set on fire
Because it was Stuff and Stuff, some Stuff, cannot have my permission to live!

I loved those boots; I saved them in a box, protected, because they were special.
Boots. I loved them
They were worn three times in a decade; their special-ness were wrapped around my heart and then,
I decided it was time to start wearing them a bit more so I carefully pulled the trophies from
Their resting place and the boots…
Were dead.


The soles were soft and mushy
The leather, torn
My boots died alone,
And I couldn’t will them back to life
And then I realized, it’s just Stuff
And what is the point?

I loved those boots.

Stuff, I was beginning to realize..Stuff
Was rotting my life and my eyes were dull and I was
Missing joy and living and freedom all because I stored up pretty things
Afraid to use them
And I lost the scent of the rose as it bloomed
And the feel of a summer’s rain as it kissed my face and I lost
The crunch of the autumn’s leaves as I walked all because
I was afraid of letting go
Because of…


Then I began my metamorphosis
It was rigid (at first)
It was labor, it was work, it was painful but I remembered the boots and
I realized this truth: Keep something without using it and it falls apart.

Use the silver, use the mugs that are meant for “some day”
Wear the best dress, because moths don’t need it
Take out Aunt Mary’s dishes and pile on sourdough bread and butter and enjoy
Because life is Now
And Stuff can’t go with us…

My father lies in a hospital bed
And I am coming to terms with this, with death
And “stuff”

I have been gifted, in a way, with a closing of a life
And this time line is not stored on a shelf, but in my heart

Hours ago my son and I stood in my father’s bedroom
We stood among old things and I knew none of these material things
None of this stuff

My father gave me:
The love of the wilderness and of wild things, the love of coyotes crying in the night
Of rivers thundering, wild, in my beautiful Colorado mountains
Stars, in their multitudes, and how he spoke of them with awe!
Dreaming in 3-D,
Teaching me to walk in silence in moccasins he gave me when I was five
So I wouldn’t disturb the wild creatures of the night;
He showed my heart medicine; and though we fought and cried
I see now that my dad was part of my remedy of life and it came late, but it came

Then there’s Stuff and my dad didn’t need Stuff.

He did need mountains and stars and he passed that on to me and
I thank him for not giving me Stuff!

We collect, we love, we store but
It is Stuff

Stick it in your pocket or on the shelf but it is Stuff

And now I’m using Stuff
Throwing away stuff, burning stuff, donating stuff
Living Life

Life is Now

Letting Go
Receiving love and laughter and knowing that it’s ok to have
Beautiful Things but it’s just Stuff!

There is change and I have cut the cord
There is no noose around my neck
Any more

Self-torture is chipped away and
Is powder

I spent time going through things I owned that I stored in my pale red barn, out back
Where the horse stall fell and chickens claimed as their roost a year or so back

I’m taking the mountains and the stars and things like that.
Tucking them into my heart;
I’m using the good plates tomorrow, and today
I’m going on a walk in my favorite shoes

I may be back today
I may be back tomorrow
But I’m walking and
I’m Walking Light

I take off my shoes and walk into the river
I feel stones and sand squish between my toes;
The water is ice…
I look up and the mountain skies blush crimson

My toes sink deeper into sand and stones
A hawk flies just over the pines

And my heart beat is the river’s rhythm:

I am home.

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This entry was posted in 2019 Poetry, new poetry, poet, poetry, Poetry Festival, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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