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Category: Poetry

Complications

Complications

We used to clamber down the river on hands and knees—there weren’t any bugs then—

and sure, we used to dismember slugs and release their inner sleaze, and there weren’t any bugs
then.

 

Once we stumbled down the slope of your rain-soaked, wooded acres to swim in your pond.

There were bats, and there was thunder, and our flashlight shot up the trees, but there weren’t
any bugs then.

 

Once we wobbled through Boston’s March cold without coats and shouted our early morning
breath,

and I bestowed upon you, dense as you are, half-joking cruelties, but at least there weren’t any
bugs then.

 

Once I found an earthworm and called him friend. I propped him on my slide

and left him, a tiny emperor in the sun. He baked, crisp nobility, and there weren’t any bugs
then.

 

Our plans fell apart when we reached your pond. We watched the bats in silence,

waiting for just one of us to feel unashamed of our triple nudities; after all, there weren’t any
bugs then.

 

And after our trip through the cold, I hid in your room while you conversed with drunks,

and for a time, you know, I hated parties, but at least there weren’t any bugs then.

 

I don’t remember what I did with that tiny king, a question mark in his last moments,

but I suspect I swept him away without anything funerary, and, hey, there weren’t any bugs then.

 

Even now we crawl down the river on hands and knees through the mosquitoes that assault us,

and ah, but Riley, I suspect they are vengeful for my multitude of tiny brutalities although you
and I know there weren’t any bugs then.

Miss Bishop, Waiting

Miss Bishop, Waiting

This poem takes inspiration from Elizabeth Bishop’s “In The Waiting Room” a copy of which can be read here.

 

I did not sit in a dentist’s office,

struck by the potent arbitrary presence of humanity,

but rather I laid in bed,

cozy in a Strawberry Fields room.

Seven years old, I stared into my white ceiling,

contemplating the darkness of death,

the possibility

of not existing at all.

Untitled, 2003 (of which there are actually several, it turns out)

Untitled, 2003 (of which there are actually several, it turns out)

This poem is based on a work by Marcel Dzama entitled Untitled 2003.

Nurses grow poppies—

or tomatoes.

A nurse grows,

and there are lions and boars—

birds of prey—

they have each other’s bodies—

men with feline faces and breasts

under the bristles of hogs—

they are the aphids on our tiger lilies.

Pluck a Chinese dragon from

the branches of your staring poppy/tomato plant;

tell me that it does not swoon!

for it is beneath your iron grasp, and—

that smug smirk of yours;

why do you detest nature?—

give me the zodiac animal, and

I shall save him from the jeers

of your raucous bulbs. Go—

grow your flowers elsewhere, sweet nurse;

there is no call for talking fruit.

To My Readers

To My Readers

There’s a tentacle monster on my ceiling.

He’s a knitted lime ball with wiggling appendages

and one large brown eye, half-lidded.

I could call him Weary,

christening him after his attitude.

He looks into my cluttered room,

the disheveled piles categorically sorted,

the bed unmade and covered in crumbs,

and passes judgment in silence.

If I turn him around

his bored gaze will roll down Tremont St.

where the light from the Loews Theatre

casts red undulations over my ceiling.

Did you know they turn the sign off

at 2:14 in the morning?

I don’t know when they turn it on.

Cool headlights file down Tremont

between hollow orange streetlights,

and, if it’s a Friday, cars will fill the three lanes,

people will fill the sidewalk,

and I will lie awake and listen to them shout.

;

;

After a long battle against striations

            his monitors gone to cloud

His keys are filled with ginger ale

            and his semicolons fallen off

Ive broken his latch

            and he burns my thighs

His battery lifes too short

            and that cocky frenetic screen winks at me

I might have salvaged him

            bound to his circuits by two years of companionship

but Ive newer machines to coddle

            so Ill immortalize my longtime companion

with the insincere punctuation from his board

Snapper

Snapper

Under a dock,
a turtle. No bigger than a pet
in an aquarium tank.
I swim up behind it,
charmed by its leisurely paddle,
admiring the swing of its tail,
the sturdy thrust of the tiny limbs,
and the present swivel of its critical head as
ponderously it turns to face me,
opening its scissor maw
and driving me out of its lake.