“Some Things I Like”

Don’t you love a new friend who offers a fresh perspective? Today’s poet, Lemm Sissay, invites us to reconsider the value of things we typically dismiss like a leaky boat or yesterday’s toast. His poem is creative and refreshing and had me laughing out loud the first time I heard it. Try listening to the poem here first and then reading it.

Some Things I Like

I like wrecks, I like ex-junkies,
I like flunks and ex-flunkies,
I like the way the career-less career,
I like flat beer,
I like people who tell half stories and forget the rest,
I like people who make doodles in important written tests,
I like being late. I like fate. I like the way teeth grate,
I like laceless shoes cordless blues,
I like the one-bar blues,
I like buttonless coats and leaky boats,
I like rubbish tips and bitten lips,
I like yesterday’s toast,
I like cold tea, I like reality,
I like ashtrays, I write and like crap plays.

I like curtains that don’t quite shut,
I like bread knives that don’t quite cut,
I like rips in blue jeans,
I like people who can’t say what they mean,
I like spiders with no legs, pencils with no lead,
Ants with no heads, worms that are half dead.
I like holes, I like coffee cold. I like creases in neat folds.
I like signs that just don’t know where they’re going,
I like angry poems,
I like the way you can’t pin down the sea.

Lemm Sissay

Which lines in the poem struck you?

What are some things you like or value that many others do not? For me, it’s winter. I like winter with its short days and cold temperatures. What about you?

Sissay ends his poem with a period instead of a question mark. It is a directive to the reader to “See.” This makes me think of the poet William Carlos Williams who carried a notepad in which he listed “Things I noticed today that I’ve missed until today” as a way of staying present and connecting with the world.


“Some Things I Like” by Lemn Sissay from Listener, 2009. Copyrighted material used for educational or therapeutic purposes.

Photo: AccountingWEB


  1. Another delightful poem! Makes me think of different cultural perceptions of beauty or happiness or food around the world. I like my potatoes (aka fries) with Bulgarian cheese on top, for example. Putting ketchup on fries was a novelty to me (which I don’t like :).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The line “I like people who make doodles in important written tests” made me laugh out loud — probably out of jealousy! Never could bring myself to do such a thing when I was in school; I took it all so seriously……I was a bit taken aback by the lines about the legless spiders, headless ants and half dead worms. Sounded a bit cruel compared to the other items — but then again, could be a reference to when we all were kids and used to laugh at such things (at least little boys did……) But now as an adult, all life seems so much more precious — and I’m always saving ants and spiders that I find in the house (luckily no worms yet) by putting them back outside……

    In terms of things I like that most people do not: dusting (and cleaning in general). I took at stab at my own little poem about dusting. Here goes:

    I like to dust
    Dressers, desks, tchotchkes, all kinds of things. Especially in the pollen-filled Spring.
    It’s fun to brush the dust into the air
    like it was never there,
    And it is such a relief to know how it will all settle again on my things
    So I can come back
    in a day, let’s say,
    And with my soft rag give it another whack.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love your poem! Thanks for sharing it. I smiled at the line about you being relieved to know the dust will return — you really love to dust!


    2. I love this poem! It inspired me to do some dusting this afternoon, something I have been procrastinating to do… Thank you for putting a different spin on my dusting.


  3. I appreciate the directive to SEE. Two of my catch phrases have to do with seeing things (“would you just look” and “don’t forget to look up” but this usually refers to the spectacular around us. The directive here seems more about seeing/valuing the less than spectacular.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Don’t forget to look up” reminds me of a book of writing prompts I read last year. I can’t recall the title, but I remember an entire chapter was devoted to writing about what you saw when you looked up! So much we don’t typically notice.

      Liked by 1 person

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