Do As I Say, Not As I Do


Unsplash: Jaakko Kemppainen

Do as I Do was the copper-top
battery of the family. Do as I Say
was the mop inside the bucket.
Just saying, Disney princesses

don’t wear chipped glass
slippers or work in the Magic Kingdom
dressed in ball gowns from
Frederick’s of Hollywood.

Do as I Say’s glass slipper
tinkled like a wind chime
when she dropped it in the rock
garden. Do as I Do ground

her teeth and released
the fiz of juniper and quinine laced
tonic in her mouth. When she fled
to Vancouver, 1495 kilometres from

home – because distance makes
the heart ponder – Do as I Say stayed
home the night her shoe shattered.
Warning shoes were fired

but Do as I Do never did not
do and Do as I Say couldn’t
say for sure if the shoe fit the other
foot. So she limped in one shoe.

“You’re half an aphorism,”
said Do as I Do. But the shoe
fit. Because shade thrown.
I know, right?

“Stop moving. If I see you moving
I’ll put a curse on you.” The hot
cauldron of hate sizzled over
the family campfire of love.

An anvil blue sky pancaked
Do as I Do, her jam oozing
from under it, gluing her
legs and arms to the ground.

Do as I Say gurgled a confessional
song underwater.  Suzie did too but
choked. Do as I Say knew
mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

You will love the bittersweet end
of melancholy though you’ll adjust
the recipe. “C’est la vie,” said Do as I Say.
Her shoes crooned “Dooby, dooby doo”.

She giggled. “You’re playing our song.”
In the rock garden, slivers of slipper
glass winked a semaphore of misdirection.
Jam glued the family together again.

This was created using a writing exercise called “Twenty Little Poetry Projects”. Fun has been missing from my writing lately and writing this felt playful. Its mostly nonsense but with some work it could make sense. 

20 thoughts on “Do As I Say, Not As I Do

    • No, there’s no backstory, other than I was personifying two parts of an aphorism and using a prompt (20 little poetry projects) to get me thinking “slant”.


    • Thanks, Derrick. I had a great time doing this exercise. Its fascinating the places your mind goes when given these prompts. I had a general idea to start with but it blew up as I went along. I’m not sure if that’s the sign of an undisciplined mind or a relaxed mind.

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  1. I think you should keep playing with this theme, if you want it to make perfect sense that is. It’s a wonderful thing and there are so many fizzy lines and sentences and images in it that could become sparkling champagne bubbles…… We all need to have fun playing in our medias don’t we and you have a wonderfully sharp wit to share with us.

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    • I am going to keep playing with this poem, Pauline. It may yet work into something intelligible.

      I’ve decided to take the summer to write with no objective in mind but simply to flex the writing muscles – kind of like doing core exercises. I keep thinking about how children play with no plan, driven only by instinct and glee. Why do we adults always have to have a “point” to everything we do? When we don’t achieve the thing we set out to do, it feels like a waste, yet the doing of the thing is as important as the outcome. I think.

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      • Absolutely agree – when I stop to think about it my most successful pieces have come when I simply sit down to play with colour. When I set out ‘to make something’ I end up with something that is formed and stilted and not nearly as lively …… it’s a good lesson to really learn isn’t it. And yes, it’s the practise that counts, not the outcome!

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