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Routine Rhymes with Poutine




1. routine; plural noun: routines

a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program


2. performed as part of a regular procedure rather than for a special reason.

Synonyms : standard, regular, customary, accustomed, normal, usual, ordinary, established, natural, unexceptional, typical. everyday, common, commonplace, conventional, day-to-day, habitual, wonted, familiar.



(noun) Canadian

1. a dish of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy.

In Québec, the term poutine is slang for mess. (The Canadian Encyclopedia, online)


Routine rhymes

with poutine

And for a poet

That’s a problem

Cause I’ve never had poutine

And I don’t much care for routine

So here we are

Poutine is slang for ‘mess’

(This is true)

Routine is slang for ‘the creative’s nightmare’

(This is false)

It’s not

I made that last part up

Cause poets can do that

When they’re writing about


And poutine

But on a serious note,

I love the mess that comes with creativity

I love the million little pieces of paper

Glued onto a scrapbook page

Named a ‘junk journal’

Boasting little tidbits to explore and find

I love the million little threads of thought

Woven together onto the written page

With just some ink and processed trees

Yet making order from my disordered thoughts

I love symphonies of notes

All overlaid one on the other

Covering a score of music

That delights my senses

And reaches deep into my soul

I love a million brush strokes

Superimposed on canvas

as though they are one painting

Artistry rising up to meet palette

Colors mixed with care

alongside 'happy accidents'

Turned to fine art

I love all the ingredients of poutine

French fries

Cheese curds


So I’m guessing I would like the whole of it

Just fine

If I could get past the mess

The mess of foods touching

And soggy french fries

And cheese curds away from their Wisconsin home

I love all the ideas about routine

The same actions done over and over

After the alarm goes off

And the day starts

And we do all the important things for our precious selves

Our health

Our relationships

Our oral hygiene

Our skin care routine

Our 10 sure ways to stay lean

If I could get past the nightmare

That stifles my carefree creative being

Bored out of her gourd

By routines

Cogs in a machine

Assaults to my self-esteem

Just because I was dyslexic

In my daily routine

I might like to try poutine

Straight out of a food truck

Where I know the mess

can be neatly thrown away

or discarded

If it’s not my favorite dish

Just like I might like to try routine

Straight out of a self-help magazine

Where I know the parts I don’t like

can be curiously abandoned

cautiously and serendipitously forgotten

If it’s not my favorite thing ever.

That’s the thing

Routine gets a bad wrap

From us creatives

Poutine gets all the praise

Because beauty is in the mess

To take blank pages, white canvas’, empty scores, and barren bowls

And then to fill them

With all the disordered chaos

We see, we hear, we envision, we dream —

Seems like the very best kind of routine

So, I will agree

To try poutine

More, I will agree to ‘make ordinary’;

I will commit to a regular practice; a scheduled decision

every day

To bring beauty to this messy world

I will make my routine

The joy

The art

The music

The creativity

The sharing of myself on paper—

Filling barren bowls 'til you savor

The mess, in all its beauty.

And I will call on the creatives

The painters

The writers

The musicians

The dancers

The chefs

The gardeners

The artists,

You —

To join me in the regular






Of bringing beauty

From the ash heap.

Normalizing art

Normalizing the creative spirit

Normalizing a million little dyslexic threads named Beauty

Woven together to reveal

Routine rhymes

with poutine

A poet’s dream.




I wrote this poem in participation with hope*writers Daily Prompt Contest Day 3, Routine. If I get randomly selected I get a logo tote bag and a journal (to add to my dozens and dozens of journals). It's not about the winning, though.

It's about being consistently creative.

And that's what I found this poem to express for me. I believe in the arts. I believe in the creative arts, the fine arts, the visual arts, the culinary arts; the art that each of us creates. I believe music, poetry, painting, gardening, and cooking touches the human spirit in a way other things cannot. I believe art therapy, music therapy and writing therapy (journaling) can heal as much or not more than 'talk therapy' ever could.

In my story of healing, I was invited to Mud Dauber pottery studio during a dark time of depression and friendlessness. I believe taking a hunk of clay and molding it, shaping it, correcting its flaws, firing it, glazing it, firing it again and then showcasing it brought a healing I never thought possible. Art gets you out of your head. The creatives in that studio became my dearest friends. They heard me say out loud, first, that I wanted to paint barns with only make-up. I bravely showed them my very first cosmetically painted barns--crude and awful renderings--and they encouraged the dream; they complimented the healing they saw in me. The beauty they brought to the mess of my life touched my spirit over and over again. They introduced me to many new art forms and encouraged whimsical, brave, daring expressions--out of my routine--to color outside lines, to bring texture to my existence, to arrange flowers, make junk journals and to try something new. They were the best therapists a girl could ever ask for.

Their friendship, art therapy.

Their artisanship, their friendship.

I found profound healing on the tip of a pen and at the bottom of a make-up brush.

I hope you do, too.

I hope you routinely find the beauty in the mess.

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