Friday, November 29, 2013
I read in a magazine a study
linking depressed writers
to how many times they use
the word I. I myself was shocked
and a little depressed to learn how
my poetry might chart a path
to psychological disorder.
Back in graduate school
my teacher coached me to write
in third person, a distancing technique
to separate the narrative
from the confessional.
I confess, I didn’t like it, this trying
to express my self in a mind not mine,
writing by ruse, so to speak.
Now I see how my teacher
tried to show me my future, living
in this state of despondency, writing
reams of poems the literary magazines
reject with form letters, thanking me
for letting them read my work
but wishing me luck
in finding the help I need elsewhere.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Sunset tugs at my shadow,
stretches it out front,
elongates it like an impulse
to measure velocity.
Waves of me ripple the asphalt.
I pedal harder, up the hill
to where the road bends
and my darkness falls back,
straddling my own silhouette,
teeth no longer clenched
against the chain, feet
settling into their familiar orbits.
Friday, November 15, 2013
and it’s over
except nothing’s ever really finished.
Things stop, to be sure, like an unanswered
telephone, or the neighbor’s barking dog –
ordinary things that lose intensity
the longer they last. Even people
like my grandmother, her two husbands,
the way she used to get up from the table
as if surfacing from a slow motion dream.
And the Pontiac with fins my father owned,
long ago dragged off – still
enormous in my mind, holding its wax
and the idea of touching what’s left
scares me: the idea I had about beauty
pressed like a flower in the crevice
on some dull book, or the Mercury dime
I placed on a railroad track, thinking
I’d come back to a puddle of quicksilver.
A candle at church guttered by its own heat,
a few sparks pale as fireflies. All my past
hanging like an apple grown fat on its seed,
the worm turning where it’s sweet.
Friday, November 8, 2013
Press the button once
to unlock the driver’s door...
every intersection a cross...
traffic from both directions...
Maybe a yellow butterfly.
I take four left turns,
end up for a moment
where I began.
Friday, November 1, 2013
“My my, and what are you supposed to be?”
“A congress people.”
“That’s precious! And how did you come up with such a cute idea?”
“My daddy told me to say it.”
“Wouldn’t your daddy help you make a costume?”
“He didn’t do nothing.”
“What a wonderful way to inspire creativity! How old are you?”
“How funny! I know members of congress that won’t last that long.”
“Well, little one, it’s because they’re like your daddy.”
“Are they fat?”
“I suppose some are, but mostly they’re just lazy.”
“Lazy means they want candy for doing nothing.”
“I want candy.”
“Of course you do. Here, take all you can grab with your grubby little hands.”
“Yes, really. Better yet, take the entire bag. And here’s my wallet, my credit cards, plus the keys to my house and car. Take it all.”
“Gee, you’re a nice lady.”
“Yeah, now scram! I’ve got to shut off the lights and pretend I’m a Democrat.”