Poetry Archives R-S


Walking downtown
I paused
at a flower shop
deliberate perfection
so carefully arranged
on foam core pierced
by thornless stems
wrapped in plastic
on display for all to see
and thought of things
that are seldom true
and that seldom last
and walking home
I paused
at a crack in the concrete
where a dandelion
had decided to grow
and thought of us

I wish you would
say everything twice

and the second time
I would listen
absorb the sound
your thoughts make
drink in every word

and the first
I would do nothing
but watch your lips move

I first met my dog
in a small room at a shelter
when she was led in
at the end of a disposable leash
attached to a paper collar
in the hand of
a complete stranger to both of us
and the second thing she did
was find a corner to crouch in
after the first thing she did
which was pee on the floor
and the third thing she did
was look at all of us
as if to say “I don’t understand
anything my life is right now”

And when I cry
for no reason I can understand
she jumps in my lap
and licks my face
and stays
because she gets it
Resting in Pieces

The third time you stayed over
before we fell asleep
I said
you should probably know
sometimes I wake up screaming

You should probably have known
the first time you stayed over
just in case
but thankfully you didn’t need to
and I was able to impress you
with the better parts of me
able to establish myself
as a girl who cooks well
and fucks well
and always pays her rent on time
a well-rounded girl who reads
more than she watches TV
and grows herbs on her balcony
a girl who is worth loving
and staying over with
even on
the off chance
that you might be woken up
by screaming

And when you said
that’s okay
I knew
of course
that you were lying
even if you didn’t know it

And almost
a decade later
I can sort of believe
that maybe you weren’t
Saturday Morning

Movies in Japanese
protagonist utters a simple phrase
a fight ensues and
half the room is dead
before those
who don’t speak the language
can finish reading the subtitles
the endless translation
of six syllables
into something that makes sense
I change the channel
Wile E. Coyote
heavy block over his head
clearly marked ‘Acme Anvil’
he sits amid a nest
of sticks labeled ‘dynamite’
‘hand grenade’ stenciled boxes
they spell out
all the things that can hurt
and when the Road Runner
streaks across the canyon
you know without a doubt
that he is running away
Secondary Jungle

You will pass easily
through the uncut
things that have been
allowed to grow
thickened and sturdy
with time
the places that seemed
or simply
too hard to reach
there you can walk
unaided and sure
you get close
to what was once settled
cultivated and abandoned
and need
all you have
to fight through
the tangled remains
of what others before
had cleared
for their own use
then left
to be reclaimed

When I am
I fit cradled
in the hand I hold
when I am more

the side I stand by
on my better days
casts a shadow
that gives
a place to hide

the love that is enough
to warm my larger self
is enough
to cover me
A   scribble about death

Poets in their twenties
write a lot about death
in your twenties
it’s just a cool thing
you’re going to do
and when later is at your door
it will be okay
because death
is that thing you owned
a long time ago
when you made it ink
and made it yours
in so many clever ways
in so many coffee shops
under your black trench coat
through the flat lenses
of your black-framed Buddy Holly glasses
(because Buddy Holly is dead see how
it all comes around)
on napkins
in notebooks
filling the air with all its best words
the big ones
the loudly silent ones
(which totally means a thing when you’re talking about death)
the ones that would glitter if
glitter wasn’t
you know
so glittery
(darkly glittery
without all the sparkle)
wrapping yourself in
layers of its distant
oh so distant

Fuck yeah.

Those same
poets in their forties
only hope
that when later is at their door
the unfinished laundry
will already be in the dryer
rather than mildewing and
smelling up the house
most of the dishes will be done
(all is too much to ask)
someone will take the dog

When I started school
in the fall of 1975
one of the first things I learned
was that I sat on the floor wrong

it’s called W sitting now
but it didn’t have a name then
it was just wrong
and I was told to change it
because it sprawled
in ways they hadn’t accounted for
put me outside a boundary
crossed the invisible line of
everyone has their square on the floor

so I took a thing
that was painless and instinctive
and I contorted it to fit
into a box I couldn’t see
but they assured me was there
and it was funny how my classmates
didn’t seem to mind
were perfectly willing to shift
a few inches for me as I was
for the taller and the fatter
they didn’t see the wrongness

but no

I was instructed to sit
(it was called Indian style back then)
with my legs crisscrossed
folded in a way that ached
and left me
stiff and awkward
long after I stood up
and went home

and that was the first time
I was told the way I occur naturally
takes up too much space
Sonnet 43, 2016

How do I love you after all these years?
I love you in the comfy boring ways
that build lifetimes out of nondescript days
the kind of love that eventually wears
matching butt dents in the living room chairs
and takes sometimes more than it gives but stays
true knowing the sameness never outweighs
the one simple truth of someone who cares
enough about us to stay ‘til the end
through days when love is simply a chore you
muddle your way through until you transcend
the drudge and routine and things that bore you
to find waiting the hand of your best friend
the heart you know will always adore you
The Spirit of the Letter

The prompt said
write a poem
that begins with ‘I’

I wasn’t aware
there is such a thing
as one that doesn’t
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