Author Archives: bobmcheffey

About bobmcheffey

A writer and a thinker.

Following Billy Collins’ advice (#336)

–Invite your readers into the poem before you close the door behind them.

Nice to see you.
Come in and sit. Sit.
Please get comfortable.
There are pillows on the floor, if you would like.
The couch is really soft.
Excuse me, I need to go close the door.
Now you’re in here with me.
We can do this together.

Normally I wander this room alone–
Look out the window,
Pick up a random book,
Put it back down in a different spot,
Move the pillows.
I never dust–who does that anymore?
I know I’m looking for something
But I have never figured out what.

It’s not usually lonely in here.
Sometimes I play music
Or I have imaginary conversations in my head.
I like it in here.
But I’m glad you’ve joined me.
Maybe your mute eyes will find what I’m missing.
Maybe showing you my hideout
Will open secret passageways or hidden drawers.
Maybe to impress you
I might even dust.

Stay as long as you can.
We’ll find the secret some time.
It may take awhile but at least we’ll be together.
There’s a cot over in the corner.
I’ll get some extra blankets.

Rest. Rest.

We can talk all night.

I’d like that.

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 4, 2020 in new poetry, Uncategorized


Tags: ,

invisible she (#335)

she wonders
is she firefly
or cigarette ash?
flower or weed?

is she the first bite of sorrow?
the aftertaste of sleep?

she can feel the universe expanding
and herself getting smaller.
ocean waves die before reaching her toes.

the trees in her forest
can’t seem to hear her
but the harsh cries of ravens
sound like her name
(she always turns to face their black eyes).

this poem does not tell her story.
(this poem does not tell her story
the way she wants it to.)

how can a poem tell the truth
of an invisible she?

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 4, 2020 in new poetry, Uncategorized


Tags: , ,

My father’s lightning (#334)

My dad convinced me
When I was young
I should try to catch lightning

He had done it as a kid
And kept it in his room at night

He showed me a small scar on his hand
Where the lightning burned him
When he finally let it go

He would remind me
Of the lightning on the rare occasions
When he was the one
Who turned off the lights before bed
Leaving me in the dark

One day during the summer
When I was six or seven
I heard thunder in the middle of a rain storm

I went into my room
Grabbed an empty coke bottle
And my rain hat
To go make my dad proud

My mom stopped me at the door

When I told her about the lightning
She took off my rain hat
Kissed me on the forehead
And told me not this storm

I wondered for a couple of years
If my failure was why
My dad stopped telling me stories
Before turning off the lights
And leaving me in the dark
And then was eventually gone altogether

But now I understand
How my mother chose me

1 Comment

Posted by on February 3, 2020 in new poetry, Uncategorized


Tags: , , ,

Tea Cups (#333)

Facing death is like riding any
spinning ride. You are flung out from
the center toward the edge. Death is waiting
for you in that void.
Then there is the centripetal pause
when you are no longer
spinning and you can make eye contact with
people waiting in line
until you are spun back to the middle
to life as you knew it.

Some people love this.
They yell to spin faster
to go farther into the void
before returning. Always faster.
Always farther.
Me? I just throw up.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 5, 2019 in new poetry


Tags: , , ,

Negative Capability (#332)

“I don’t have all the answers, but I’m learning to ask good questions.”
–Pamela Consear

I am searching for the non-answer
For the I don’t know
For the mystery I will die with

When I was younger I was a good boy
Paid attention in school
Mostly listened to my parents
Generally likable
Even witty and cute at times

But I got there because
I was good at answers
Followed the advice
Took down notes
Turned in assignments on time
Knew when to talk
And when to be quiet

But now I am looking for
The white space
The crooked margins
The fog that gradually creeps in
The sound or color or emotion
That no one can quite define

I am looking for a God that is a possibility
Not for a God that is an answer

I will search and search
And hopefully
Never find

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 11, 2019 in new poetry


Tags: , ,

Solus (#331)

She starts by explaining
The difference between
Loneliness and Alone

She is crying

I don’t know what to do
With my hands

When she trails off
Lost in her own contradictions
I want to add
Something about serendipity
And purpose
But the air is too heavy
With my nerves
And her denial

I have known her loneliness
And I have been alone
And neither helps me now

I, too, am crying
And I still don’t know what to do
With my hands

She sips her coffee
I sip my tea
We do not make eye contact

But I feel less alone

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 26, 2019 in new poetry


Tags: , ,

“I don’t normally remember…” (#330)

I don’t normally remember my dreams
Fleeting images that fade
Before my legs swing to the floor
But last night I danced
In the rain
And I woke up proud

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 21, 2019 in new poetry, Uncategorized


Tags: , ,