Tag Archives: poetry

I don’t like it here

Free time doesn’t interest me

I’d rather not stop here

I will choke on the stillness of this middle of nowhere lake

do you know that about me?

it will steal my purpose

trade it for this introspection I have no use for

I am a runner

In the longest race

I never stop

to do so

It’s like waving to death, no?

 

 

 

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my mother takes on the world

My mom and I are walking around her housing complex in Boca Raton
when she starts talking about how she doesn’t like Facebook
how people rant over their problems and disagreements out in public for all to see 
“Who cares?”
when she gets angry enough to explode
She puts all of her rage in a typed profanity-laced note she’ll later delete
Directed at people that piss her off

Hearing this out of her mouth
Makes me think of a forgotten piece of china lifted from its spot in a cupboard
revealing something you’d been looking for for a while.

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A Long Ago Scent

I recently

bought a new soap

for the shower

that I used for years in my late teens

and into my early twenties

So, of course,

immediately it called to mind

when I was young and unhappy

But not so complacent

When my dreams were dense

I was barely able to carry them around

like the free weights that come at the end of the shelf.

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how to lose ten lbs like me

Lose your grandmother
Go back to the home where you grew into
whatever you are now
Endure your mother
who
with wet eyes implores

“I want you to set some goals

My side of the family struggles with weight issues

I don’t want you to get sick

Look at me

I know what it’s like to be heavy

But you have to try…”

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death’s faint, beautiful music

shasta

The other day we climbed up a thousand feet to an alpine lake from another lake

as the sun gave its leave

to the snow and ice covered ground.

My wife and I,

each of us listening to death’s faint, beautiful music,

tracing over the footprints of a couple who made the same modest journey

a few hours before.

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The Ten Best Poem (tribute to Publisher’s Weekly)

The ten best lakefront benches that smell like urine, the ten best business cards in the shape of lollipops, the ten best street vendors with moles under their left eye, the ten best street vendors with moles under their right eye, the ten best office building staircases in states beginning with the letter n, the ten best first place ribbons won by 4th grade elementary students in the last five years, the ten best books that are actually living, breathing cats, the ten best times someone confused the state and country of Georgia and lived to tell the tale, the ten best times I waited at a broken red light, the ten best songs hiding out in pet shops after dark, the ten best reasons you and I can never go back there, the ten best sneezes that actor from Law and Order ever ordered from a Chinese takeout, the ten best lovers taken in the midst of a philosophical crisis, the ten best weapons fashioned from living room furniture, the ten best Elvis impersonators framed for crimes they did not commit, the ten best lives lived in the background of the moon, the ten best historical novels of 2014 so far

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How Five Men Died

Raphael stepped on a land mine in the early morning. We spent two hours trying to find his wedding ring. It occurred to me that the last thing he and I talked about was how we both admired Stephen King novels.

Akhil took shrapnel in the throat when a car bomb went off about ten yards from him. He was gone after five minutes. Tyler leaned over him, and gave him a kiss on the cheek to say goodbye.

Tyler was hit by friendly fire when we got into it with some rebels hiding behind a light blue van. He had disappeared in the middle of the skirmish and we all thought he lost his nerve. When he reappeared a few yards from the van with the guys behind it, we mistook him for the enemy. Tyler didn’t have any last words, so Tony made up some for him (“To tell his ma later.”)

A rebel shot Pete in the leg and in the chest when we were out in the middle of nowhere and he bled out later. I killed the shooter myself. Before he died, the rebel screamed, “Screw you, American pizza boys!”

A car bomb took Luis in the middle of our patrol at 5 AM. Tony survived, but lost two fingers. Everyone knew that whenever he patrolled, Luis carried around a small toy snowman in his pocket for luck. Later on, I found the snowman back at camp. Luis had forgotten to bring it. Most of the guys believed that it was just a coincidence, but I pocketed it just in case it wasn’t.

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I want to write an Old Song

I want to write an old song

so old that immediately after it’s finished

it’s clear that it doesn’t belong in the right now

 

so old only ghosts can hear it

 

so old the house I live in quietly recedes along with the street outside that leads to it

 

 

so old dead trees spring up and plants too

 

so old ancient beasts materialize

with gunk in their eyes

 

everything returning

like a hurricane operating in reverse

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Norah Jones singing a Tom Waits song

Norah Jones singing a Tom Waits song

makes me feel like I’m getting clean

not on purpose

like a bath by force

or

a hard-won heartache replaced too fast by a movie love

it’s pure and sweet

and wrong

or good news

that turns out later

to be false.

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My anxiety and I go home

Last week when I went back to New York

after a very long time

I was good

I saw my friends and their new babies

my face birthed stupid, wonderful grins

I made apologies for not going to weddings

and meant them

I went to places that made me uncomfortable

I didn’t fake a single stomach ache 

I rarely lied

I spoke to my brother, and it felt normal.

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