//The nth Plan

The nth Plan


I was going to wait until tomorrow to post this, if at all because so much can change by then. But because so much can change by then I didn’t want this moment to get away. I also just wanted to get it out of my head so I can have a good nights sleep, go for an invigorating morning run and strap in for the final two weeks of the semester. Let whatever comes next come in its own time – why am I rushing out to meet it?


Nothing has happened to signify any outright doom or fortune of mine, but I feel as though some opportunity has slipped through my grasp. The nagging feeling that my timing just isn’t right has risen until now it is a clamor instead of a whisper. Did I miss something? Was I too presumptuous? Am I unworthy?

As I second guess myself and torment myself over all the ‘what ifs’ and wonder what I could have done differently I need to come up with a new plan. Barring a miracle I will not be able to transfer to another college for the spring semester as I had hoped. That is unfortunate. (A generous assessment of a very distressing situation.) All is not lost and I have to hang on to hope until there is none, but I feel, in the pit of my stomach, that the tide has turned against me.

When did this happen? Was there an omen, some portent that I missed? Nothing strikes me as particularly prescient, except maybe my own dread which has only been kept at bay by the optimism of others. Perhaps it was folly to think that things could actually go my way for once. All my lessons from AA have not been in vain – I will not succumb to self pity or “morbid self reflection”. To paraphrase Elizabeth Bishop, some things are so filled with the intent to be lost that losing them is what was supposed to happen, even though it feels like a disaster. She concludes her sonnet with, “It’s evident/ the art of losing’s not too hard to master/ though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.”

The nth Plan

It’s true that the world will not actually cease to be of this semester ends without any clear path for me to follow. What does all this mean? (For anyone that doesn’t already know – the nth anything is the final term in a sequence.)


  • I have been accepted to several universities so, I know that I can get in
  • The delay will allow me to improve my scholarship applications and get the academic letter that I need
  • I will be able to take two more math classes that I have been wanting to take
  • I won’t miss softball season


  • I will have to find a real job
  • I will not be able to live at the sober house any more – well, it’s not that I won’t be allowed to but, if I have to pay full rent I can do better than this shit hole
  • I will feel like a failure – no sugar coated, God works in mysterious fucking ways, hope springs eternal bullshit will change that

Now what?

Erstwhile means long time gone.
A harbinger is sent before to help,
and also a sign of things
to come. Like this blue
stapler I bought at Staples.
Did you know in ancient Rome
priests called augurs studied
the future by carefully watching
whether birds were flying
together or alone, making what
honking or beeping noises
in what directions? It was called
the auspices. The air
was thus a huge announcement.
Today it’s completely
transparent, a vase. Inside it
flowers flower. Thus
a little death scent. I have
no master but always wonder,
what is making my master sad?
Maybe I do not know him.
This morning I made extra coffee
for the beloved and covered
the cup with a saucer. Skeleton
I thought, and stay
very still, whatever it was
will soon pass by and be gone.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring good news or some portent of a brighter future than the one playing in my mind tonight. Thank you Matthew Zapruder for the poem, if that name sounds familiar that’s because his namesake shot the famous footage of JFK’s assassination. How f***ing ominous is that?

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