now that you’ve quit

the sign at the Rite-Aid
asks, “what are you
going to do
now that you’ve quit?”

lately I’ve been feeling like
maybe I don’t want to
smoke cigarettes anymore but
that question haunts me.
what the fuck am I
going to do with myself
when the press of people
around me gets to be
too much, when I need
some air and a few
minutes to think, or
write a poem,
or when I can’t
sleep and I need a reason
to stand in the doorway
with the terrace door open
to the elements
for approximately
three minutes
and forty seconds?

Continue reading now that you’ve quit


I may have lied
last night. you
were the miller in that
second poem too, the one who
earned his rest by creating.

I don’t know why
I lied. something in me
was very wary, very afraid
to admit it. maybe because
I keep getting burned
whenever I reveal
my heart. so to protect myself
from fire, I buried that secret knowledge
six fathoms under. well, the skeletons
are floating up now!

also in that poem, I seem to have
devalued the lady’s writing poems
because to me it doesn’t
usually feel like work, and also because
I’m the one doing it.
you work at yours, I see it.
anything I do
doesn’t count as work
in my mind. unless I’m
making big bucks and/or
digging ditches. it’s probably a
daddy issue. gee, what a surprise.

and remember your favorite
devices: poetic license, literary
detachment and writing in
characters? the lady is both
me and not-me, not all of me
anyway. she’s a voice in
my head telling me I’m
worthless. she doesn’t know

the whole analogy
falls apart anyway,
the center cannot hold
because her writing poems
invalidates the entire metaphor.
if she had a mortar and pestle
and secretly ground her own flour
to bake illicit cakes, that would
be in keeping, but it would also
be ridiculous.

plus I didn’t think of it
til now. should I edit?
does the world really need
The Mill 2.0?