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Following Billy Collins’ advice (#336)

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

Hello.
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.
Good.
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.

Please,
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.

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

 

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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?

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

 

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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

Finally
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

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

 

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“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
Naked
In the rain
And I woke up proud

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

 

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Biography written by a bystander (#329)

His clothes don’t quite fit him right.
He is waiting until he loses weight
Before updating his wardrobe.
That’s been the plan for the last 15 months.

He changes his name when ordering his coffee.
He goes in alphabetical order.
Today he is Gloria.
Tomorrow he will be Hieronymus.
The baristas know him and usually just write Bob.

He actually likes clowns and spiders.

His father taught him to never lie about facts.
Only about feelings.

He drops pennies from his pockets
Hoping little kids will find them
And believe in luck.
He used to believe in luck.
Now he believes in foggy days.

His mother no longer understands him.

He prays most days,
Creaky knees bent and hands together,
But he spends the entire time
Apologizing to God
For not believing in Him.

Yet he still believes in foggy days.

When he sings in the park
On his daily walks
He hopes a random stranger
Will join in and write his biography.

Today’s song is Seasons of Love.

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2019 in new poetry, Uncategorized

 

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An argument between friends (#313)

My hands are traitors to my feet
My feet want to be moving
–here to there–
–purpose to objective–
My hands want to grasp things
–to hold on–
–to slow me down–
My days are an argument between the two

My feet try to move out of the way
Avoid puddles
Don’t trip
Keep me standing
They know their job

My hands try to catch things
Raindrops and frisbees
More to have
More to give
My hands like the air
My feet are annoyed

But on some days
At some hours
My feet do dance
Circles and taps
Not moving to get somewhere
Just loving the ground
Sharing the joys with my hips
And my shoulders
And even happily with my hands

And on some days
At some hours
My hands do let go
Release
Empty themselves
They understand mortality
And loneliness
And find solace in prayer

My feet allow them
Their sadness and peace

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2017 in new poetry, Uncategorized

 

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Saturday, driving to grandparents (#302)

half-awake Saturdays
driving to my grandparents’ house
my mind gives me
voices and visions of what should be
instead of us

intellectual llamas
contemplating Camus
conversations that cover
love and other lost civilizations

talk radio
heater on high
occasional glances in rear view mirror
checking on my mood

gravity
like elephants
sitting on the telephone wires
birds flying backwards
giving us the illusion of speed

poetic wanderings
safer than talking
that just leads to questions
I don’t want to answer

God’s breath
looming outside closed windows
warnings of storms only I can hear
the silence of lightning
waiting to strike

I close my eyes

they hope I’m asleep

I’m not

this is my only answer

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2016 in new poetry, Uncategorized

 

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