To-Do List Poems

Our literature elective class and I wrote poems modeled on/inspired by Jen Hofer’s “future somatics to-do list” and her notion of “a poem that is a to-do list that is a poem”(read the original here:


Carter’s poem:

Normal To-Do List 

Go to the store.

Get milk.

Get macaroni and cheese.

Get treats for that get-together.

Get treats for just myself.

Finish that poem for class.

Finish that essay for class.

Get milk please.

Don’t worry about the past.

Get cereal.

Clean my room.

Don’t think about the past.



Charge laptop for classes tomorrow.

Learn my lines for the play.

Think of the future.

Be anxious of the future.

Get milk.

Finish writing

treats for the

Think of


Do cry.



Crawl up

Do cry.

Go to

poem for


to the store.

my room.

Charge laptop

for class.

Calm down.

Take your medication.




Erin’s poem:

“A To-Do List”


What kleenexes are best for wiping away tears?

Where in the body does loving take place?

How to move on from losing someone?

Where to buy flowers?

What is a good store to shop for black dresses? The silky, long ones, the short cocktail ones, the poofy ones, short sleeve, long sleeve, middle?

How to be there for family?

Who do we consider family? Is it the ones we love the most? The ones who are blood related?

Why do we cry?

Where in the body do we forget?

Where in the body does grieving take place?

Where in the body does loving take place?

How to write a mournful speech?

What are the best memories?

What are methods to cope with grieving?

What are the best types of headstones?

What do we say to express condolences? I am so sorry for your loss, they will be deeply missed, they were a wonderful person?

Where do tears come from?

How to get the red puffiness to go away?

Where to get good waterproof makeup?

What photos are good?

Why is it so hard to lose a loved one?


Klaire’s poem:

“how to find your worth: a to-do list”


Wake Up.

am I really worth it?

convince myself I am.

(you’d never know,

I can’t stand my reflection.

maybe there’s a reason I never told you,)

I have questions for you.

ask myself why you’re so interested in me

how does one go day to day waking up happy?

tell myself I am beautiful.

can you tell me you believe in me?

paint on your smile.

what is my worth?

who is worthy of me?

am I wrong to feel?

what am I good for?

why do I break and shatter?

why me?

cry under the covers.

think about all the happy things in life,

then cry some more.

finally tell myself

I am worth it.

Fall Asleep.



Melina’s poem:

“Life: A to-do list”


what is life all scratched up to be?

what is the most important thing?

is it adventure?

do adrenaline and experience control your quality of life?

is it triumph?

do your successes determine how happy you are?

is it happiness?

do the highs in your life show how far you’ve come?

is it love?

blood or otherwise, do these people accentuate your virtues?

is everyone’s answer different?

is everyone’s answer the same?

does anyone have more than one answer?

does anyone have hundreds of answers?

does anyone really know for sure?

or is everyone simply in a state of oblivion?

and that’s not all.

because after life comes death.

what about death?

where do we go?

what is made of our souls?

or our bodies?

what determines whether we lived a good or bad life?

is it the same subjects as the living?

which is more dreadful?

to be alive in a state of unknowing?

or to simply be dead?


Sadie’s poem:

“Losing: A to-do list”


Did you have to look at me that way?

Shame, regret and disappointment bleeding together.

Did you have to frown that much?

A small rainbow sitting on your face, but grayed out.

Did you have to strike me?

A red handprint now sits on my cold cheek.

Did you have to shout at me?

Your voice cracked a few times.

Did you have to take those clothes?

We bought them together once.

Did you have to call me that?

I thought you promised to never call me that.

Did you have to turn sharply?

You seem to hate the sight of me.

Did you have to leave?

You could’ve given a better explanation.

Did you have to leave out what I did?

I don’t even know what I did.

Will you please come back?

I’m all alone.


Mr. Polking’s poem:

“Past Tense: A Was-Done List”


Did I return your message?

Did you return mine?

Did we speak in person?

Were you “fine”?

How long did we maintain eye contact?

Did we listen?

Were you smiling?

Did we soften?

Did you fall in the forest?

Did I hear you?

Was our love star-crossed or merely lost?

Did we stumble or were we pushed?

Did I mumble or did I crush words together,

A portmanteau of pre-emptive strikes

Against the possibility of more?

One thought on “To-Do List Poems

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