Eight of Hearts: Ten Minutes a Day

Ten minutes a day,At the wake-up bell in the morning you must get out of bed and put on your clothes.
that’s all you need
to realise your dreams —
not as hard as it seems.
Ten minutes can always be freed.

Ten minutes a day,
a sixth of a clock,
to keep up your writing,
its forced march providing
a force to march through writer’s block.

Ten minutes a day
can’t be denied,
to read through your bookshelf
and castle your rook self
with culture of kings by your side.

Ten minutes a day,
one day at a time,
to inch past the worst of it,
combat inertia that
nothing excuses; must try if it uses just

ten minutes a day,
don’t you forget,
to learn a new language:
word spread, grammar sandwich.
Ten minutes to keep your tongue wet.

Ten minutes a day
(if you’ve spread spores)
to teach well your baby;
remember that maybe
its life will be bigger than yours.

Ten minutes a day,
on- or offline,
to maintain your friendships,
accept rain and send drips;
as long as it’s something it’s fine.

Ten minutes a day —
find it somehow.
Forego social network fun,
finally get work done.
You’ve got all these things to make, it’s really not hard to take

ten minutes a day.
That’s all you do
to try meditation
and self re-creation;
you have to take some time for you.

Ten minutes a day —
it doesn’t take long
to tidy a tight space,
put junk in the right place;
and live with things where they belong.

Ten minutes a day,
not big amounts
to work on your fitness;
don’t tire yourself witless,
but even a small workout counts.

Ten minutes a day?
I can do that!
Grab life while I’m alive,
did all the things and I’ve
got what I’m leaping for now, and I’m sleeping for

ten minutes a day.
That’s all I need. [yawn]
Night dreams are boring;
my real dreams are [sound of snoring]
[snoring continues]

This is another one of those poems which has a tune in my head, and I had a hard time reading it without the tune to see if there were any lapses in rhythm the tune was forgiving. I fear I this may have caused me to write a terrible song and mediocre poem instead of a good poem. But I like it anyway. I might have to make a robot choir recording of it. It even has guitar bits after the second line of each stanza, which will be a fun challenge to record using only my MIDI keyboard and my vague suspicion that things called chords are involved.

I’ve been thinking about this one for several weeks, every so often adding something to the list of things that people say we should spend some negligible and underestimated amount of time on every day. It wasn’t really inspired by that card, and I still haven’t even tidied up my cards since the cruise. On the subject of the cruise, and people telling us to write every day, here’s my video recording of the live episode of the Nerdist Writers Panel recorded on JoCo Cruise Crazy 3.

It might be nice if I changed ‘ten minutes’ to either ‘five minutes’ or ‘one hour’ (‘hour’ pronounced as two syllables) so that I could arrange the first twelve stanzas around a clock and put the last one somewhere where there isn’t time for it, but I prefer the sound of ‘ten minutes’. I was thinking of making it zigzag across the page, three stanzas wide, but that would be pretty gratuitous.

I can consistently introduce and read this one in under three minutes, so I might read or recite it at the poetry open mic at ICV Arcade on the 31st. Let’s see if I can memorise it. My goal will be to make the audience yawn, and with that as a goal I don’t think it’s possible to fail. I bet you’re yawning already, so I’ll stop this now.


I changed some of the words. It originally went:

to try social network fun,
or you could get work done.

but who ever advises people to use social networks more? Apart from to maintain your friendships, of course, but conflicting interests is what this poem is about. Also, I used to have ‘for’ instead of ‘but’ about the small workout counting. I’m thinking about ‘a’ to ‘the’ in the fourth line of the second stanza.

Further Addendum: I recited this at open mic, and lots of people said they liked it, and I wish I could have said the same to the other poets there but I am not good enough at absorbing poetry and memorising faces and attaching the two all at the same time. I have some ideas for illustrations which could turn this poem into a small picture book or large comic strip for people who are told they’re too old for Dr. Seuss, and maybe aren’t yet old enough to realise they’re not. It would also be used for a halfhearted slide-show-style music video when I eventually teach my robot choir to sing this. I’m not sure whether I should attempt to draw it myself using stick figures, or commission someone else to do it. I’m starting to think it would be fun to have merch to shill, even if it the profit would be inevitably approaching zero from one side or the other. I have a day job so I can do that if I want. I enjoyed the ego boost when the occasional person would buy my shareware in the late 90s, and I still have the T-shirts and most of the cheques (the payments were processed by a US company, so they actually used cheques, even though it was almost the 21st Century.) But I won’t start on any of that until I’ve finished the King of Hearts.

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  1. Ten Minutes A Day (Live on JoCo Cruise Crazy) | Creative Output

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