Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

“Cleaning House,” by Daniel Holland



You know those little things in the carpet that try to hide? When you vacuum “hide and seek” becomes “hide and suck.”

If you have a cheap vacuum, vacuuming becomes a hockey game. The goalie is under the mat. The cheaper the vacuum, the bigger the mat. As a kid I used to shoot marbles. Now I shoot particles of grit across the carpet.

Friends, bring over your vacuum. We’ll shoot particles across the carpet. Unless, of course, you have a good vacuum that really sucks. If you do most of the vacuuming in your household doesn’t that make life suck?


Mop spreads its hair to clean the floors. Then Mop splashes into the bucket and out on the yucky floor. Mop washes the floor as a chore of love to clean the walk path.


My shirt needs ironing and so does my life. I need to iron the wrinkles that I put in. Iron smooths the surface of the shirt so that the fibers of shirt cling to me. I place the iron on the edge of the ironing board, but know there is always more to iron.


Dust comes and settles on everything in sight. Could Dust be kind and skip something? No, it will get everything in sight, saying “You, Cleaner, clean me up!”
One windy day, I opened the door to blow away the dust. Instead, I made a dust bowl. So, a-choo!


It all started when my Mom handed me my dirty diaper to throw out. The more I grew, the more trash there was to take out. The trash got heavier. Today I hear the familiar words “Do you mind taking out the trash?” No, I do not mind. I was trained to take out the trash.
Trash patiently waits as it gets fuller and fuller. Finally, it needs to be taken on a walk to the garbage can. The garbage can is a haven where trash talks to other trash. The milk container asks the juice container “How are you doing?” The coffee container chats up all the trash with java speed. The snotty nose tissue doesn’t know who to talk to. It feels used and huddles in a bunch on the edge of the trash.


When I open the big door of the refrigerator, everything is cool. But when I open the small door, everything is frigid. The toast says it is popping along. The iron says business is pressing. The hairdryer breezes past. The washer says it feels clean and fresh. The drier tells me it is lonely so I stick in a bunch of clothes. But that only helps for a 20-minute cycle. When I take out the clothes, the drier feels empty.

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2 Responses »

  1. Daniel, I love the image of the items in the trash talking to each other...and the idea that maybe we could iron out our lives like we iron out a shirt....and that the drier feels empty when we take out the clothes.

  2. I'll never take out the trash again without remembering this piece! And, housecleaning? If only I could get the vacuum and mop to dance together while I sit here at the computer and let my fingers do the writing my brain and soul desire! Thanks for the giggles, Daniel!

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