Radio Silence

I’ve tried to write this poem
before, I think. but the title just gets
the Thomas Dolby song of the same name
stuck in my head and then
I’m too distracted to
continue. perhaps this time
I will succeed. so, anyway. I’ve
noticed you’ve gone dark.

(I dreamt about you last night.
I was throwing away a box of
Entenmann’s chocolate donuts
and trying to hide it from you
because it wasn’t something you needed
to be tempted by.)

I don’t know what to say
about this, other than somehow
I always thought you would
always be there – even if we
no longer spoke as often – that
I could still read your mind
from afar. but no longer, as
you’ve stopped broadcasting.
maybe without a platform
in which to preen in person
the whole endeavor
of putting your thoughts down
doesn’t seem worth it. well,
I’m sorry for that.

here’s where I should
try to make some argument
for it being good for you
to continue, but we both know
altruism doesn’t become me.

(not to mention my hypocrisy
vis-a-vis my own highly infrequent
signaling. pot, meet kettle: we’re both
black.)

so I’ll just say this:
think of your stalkers,
and kindly throw down
a breadcrumb
now and again
to let us know
your signal isn’t
completely gone.

idol

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?

blinded,
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

that girl II

really I’m the worst. so busy
being spiteful, so jealous because
a pretty girl made me feel
ugly, a skinny girl made
me feel fat, a popular girl
made me feel left out, lesser than,
that I didn’t get it: she may be
all of those things, but only I
can make myself small
in spirit. I may not be
shaped like her but
only I can make myself
ugly. who among us hasn’t
tried to fit in? tried to be
what we think everyone wants?
I was just enraged because
I thought her being the way
she was took something
away from me.

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,
pregnant
with so many
ghosts. my tiny
little poems, I cradle you
in my blood
as I embrace
the void.

unfinished

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.

speechwritten II

maybe I’m wrong
for being a little bit annoyed
that in your touching tribute
in which you read my words
as if you had written them
you preferred to keep the author
anonymous.

maybe you wanted
to make me mad
because my words taste better
well-seasoned with
fiery rage.

Continue reading speechwritten II

on rereading some of my old poems

wow, those were the days.
I wrote some halfway decent
shite. some of them
were dumb but some were
not at all awful. why is it
that when I try to write
a new one, it always seems
to come out wrong?

I’m out of the habit
of looking at the world
as inspiration for poetry
these days. now I think
more of songs and less
of poetry. my muse has changed
her clothes. she hums
in my ear now instead
of whispering. you’d think
they’re pretty similar –
what are songs if not
poems set to music? –
but to me they aren’t at all
the same. Terpsichore
rules my days now
instead of Euterpe.