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Category: Poetry

POEM: Swedish fish

Swedish fish

I bought Swedish fish at Wegmans.
Do people still call them that?
The little gummy fish.
Mine are red but they come in other colors.
When I was a kid, my dad would take me
to a little mom-and-pop candy shop.
We’d buy a bag of fish, then go home
to watch the Saturday afternoon monster movie.
Sometimes it would be a classic:
Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein.
More often it was giant irradiated bugs
or a disembodied hand or aliens
who looked goofy even in the 70s.
If I’m honest, I bought the fish tonight
because I miss having parents, but
Swedish fish are no replacement
for a mom and dad.

/ / /

31 May 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: (—)


I look up from my laptop in time
to see a cat peering in the window.
The sun is setting behind it.

A two-headed, three-armed bear
lies beside my stuffed mouse namesake.
Signs of care from far away.

On the radio, the Red Sox play the Reds,
who are, sadly, not communists.
They’re from Cincinnati.

(I had to look up “Cincinnati”
to make sure I put enough n’s in it.
There are three, but I wasn’t sure.)

I drove from Pennsylvania to Maryland
to West Virginia to Virginia.
The rain increased with each state line.

It’s been years since I last felt safe.
It’s been a lifetime since I knew what I was doing.
It’s been minutes since I last thought about—

/ / /

30 May 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: Jupiter


Loneliness weighs so much.
It’s heavier than I thought a thing could be.
The weight is occasionally taken up by
voices on the other end of the phone,
by faces on a computer screen.
But when the connection ends,
gravity regains its mastery
and even breathing becomes a challenge.
I am staggered by the distances between hugs
and embarrassed by how little I’ve recovered.
I keep saying I’ll get more involved but that
requires leaving the house and that requires
getting up and the air is made of lead.
How can the loss of one person
transport me across the solar system?
How has it sent me here where
my mass is doubled and everything else
is reduced to zero?

/ / /

21 May 2023
Charlottesville VA

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poem: (untitled)

the trumpet player
leans in and whispers
into my ear
a poem about death

/ / /

18 May 2023
Charlottesville VA

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haiku: 10 May 2023

I wrapped myself
in a tent made of sky
floating in the half-light

/ / /

10 May 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: Coping


The unfortunate part
of all this is that
I’d trade it
without hesitation
for you.

/ / /

9 May 2023
Charlottesville VA

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haiku: 29 April 2023

striped tail!
at the window: whiskers
traveling cat after spring rains

/ / /

29 April 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: Please Wait

Please Wait

The box fan blows the last
of the salmon & oil smoke
out the front window.

The rice is still warming
in the cooker, sending up wisps
of steam like a papal signal.

The dishes are Tetrised onto
a plastic camp table
covered in blue-checked cloth.

In the living room that is
also the kitchen, a man hunches
over the keyboard.

Two robins play tag
on the front lawn; a single
bluebird alights on its box.

Soon there will be washing-up
to do, and then the long hours
until sleep.

(After 20 minutes on hold,
the music cuts out and
the call is disconnected.)

/ / /

27 April 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: A Splenetic Conundrum

A Splenetic Conundrum

What do the spleen do?
I don’t know, do you?
Why does one vent it, and when?
Is it when it gets hot? What then?
I think that I’ve got one, though where
it resides in this body, on a dare
I could not answer. Low down?
Is it long? Is it squat? Is it round?
I think you can have it removed,
I’m fairly sure that’s been proved.
What do the no-spleen folks do?
I have no idea, do you?

/ / /

26 April 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: Snake Oil

Snake Oil

if you just
no but really, just
see, like that person is
all you have to do is to
those beautiful vistas
it’s about the
if you had
if you just

/ / /

25 April 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: Teaspoons & Tablespoons

Teaspoons & Tablespoons

I have burned incense.
I have lit candles on the shelves.
I have made offerings to the memory
of Bourdain and Child.
I have done these things to summon
the ability to walk
into the kitchen,
look through a series
of scantily stocked cupboards,
then to take what is found
and create a meal.
The magic has not visited me,
but on full-moon nights
I can almost see dinner.

/ / /

24 April 2023
Charlottesville VA

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