stopping and starting

it’s only looking back
that I see that I seem
to have stopped
writing poetry when
I started writing songs
in earnest. it
wasn’t deliberate, and I
don’t know for sure if the two
are related, but the timelines
make a graph with the one in a
downward trend and the other
leading upwards.

it’s fine. I don’t mind
so much, but now
I feel silly yelling into
the void. it took over a year
after the last poem I wrote
for me to delete the app
from my phone.

I. deleted. the app.
from my phone. (optional:
insert clap emojis
like this is Twitter.)

it was just
taking up space and
serving no purpose,
just a constant sad reminder
of who I used to be.


I read a book
about Sylvia Plath
and despair. it seems
so much easier
to write poems that
scorch the earth
when you’re not planning
on being around when
those cruise missiles
touch down.

well, I do not plan
on dying, ever,
so where does that leave
my stabs at poetry?

broken, Oedipus at Thebes
could relate.

maybe I’ll just wait
until everyone I know is dead
before I document
what I really think of them.

by any other name

well, I tried to hold out. early
in the new year I thought
to myself that it was remarkable
that I had not yet written a single
poem this month. it would be
a funny, fun challenge to hold out
until February. a little test
and trick to play
upon myself, since certainly
no one else was noticing. and
it wasn’t as if I had anything
to say for myself anyway,
so abstaining from blathering
about nonsense

was no big hardship. but
I simply could not do it. this month
seems fucking endless and
it turns out that eternity

by any other name
feels every bit as long. at this rate
we shall never reach the promised land
of the shortest month, let alone
get any closer to summer.
may whoever have mercy
on our shivering souls.

the word

there is a piece of data
I am not able to obtain
that would be relevant
to my interests, were it readily
available: what word
(or phrase) did a visitor search for,
to find that poem
they remembered and
wanted to read again?
of all the words
I strung together, which
were the one(s) that
spoke to them and
were unique? this is a secret
that is surely known
to some entity or
algorithm, other than
the querent themselves.
WordPress, Google, hell, I’ll even
ask Jeeves.

Continue reading the word

what a difference

three days ago
I thought I had something
to tell you. it seemed
very important
to my sleep-deprived brain.
now I think
maybe it doesn’t matter.
it won’t change
a thing, and you don’t
care. I’ve gotten
some sleep, and my
blood has cooled, and
I’ve seen some things
that made me think.

why do I bother
to torture myself
over things that don’t matter
to anyone but me?

if I knew the answer
to that, maybe I’d know
what a difference
those three days

poems unborn

what about all the poems
I haven’t written?

every breath
of my eyelids is a poem, every
second of every day
is a poem, every movement,
every sigh, every tear
is a tiny poem
left to cry itself
to sleep.

all these unborn poems
hum inside my bones
like bees, bubble
in my throat like a
scream, shine
from my hair like
the moon silvery pale,
I am eldritch with them,
with so many
ghosts. my tiny
little poems, I cradle you
in my blood
as I embrace
the void.


I didn’t realize
that poem I posted
from 2015 was
incomplete. I didn’t mean
to leave the reader hanging, when
a simple period
would have sufficed.
to be honest I skimmed it
and thought it seemed
good enough. I wondered why
I didn’t post it last year
or the year before. now
it’s out there, seemingly
unfinished. I would edit
but I’d have to find it.
maybe sometimes
it’s okay to leave
in the middle

the source

I used to write more
fictionalized poems. I felt like I
was channeling them from
somewhere else. sometimes
I didn’t know where
they were coming from
or what they meant. it always
bothered me that I
hadn’t actually experienced
these situations that
came through my pen.
it robbed me of authority,
I thought, and furthermore,
it made me feel stupid,
because I couldn’t explain it.

once I was reading
Don Quixote and I was inspired to write
a vaguely romantic poem
about a knight named
Roland. it seemed meaningless,
yet oddly charged
at the time. several months later
my seat mate on a plane
flirted with me for six hours straight
before finally admitting
to having a girlfriend. just
before deplaning, he showed me
his driver’s license,
and there it was
in black and white: his name
was Roland. I thought of
my poem and felt like it
was more of a prophecy
of that situation
than a coincidence.

so now, even when
some fiction occurs
to me, I try to situate it
within the context
of my life and my own
reality. anyway I don’t
really care if the reader
can relate to the details.
they are for me.

I try
to write my feelings
in such a way that
someone reading might
recognize something
of themselves in them.
a well-turned phrase
still rings true
even in the midst
of my specific, untranslatable
situation. my personal truth
can be meaningful
to someone else
without my trying
to make it universal.

feelings are what’s universal.
details sometimes are –
more so than one
might think, I think – but even
if they’re not, who cares.

there’s something in me
that wants to come out.

if someone else
sees themselves in it, cool.

if not, they can scroll down
to the next poem.

the window II

you left it
open. to the elements,
to thieves, to squirrels,
to everyone
but me. you’re lucky
that all your crappy,
crappy stuff
was still there when
we came back
to the car. no one
stole your sweet ride,
just like no one stole
your sealed-up

N.B.: this is the poem
I didn’t write
back when said incident
occurred. is it the same
as what I would have done