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Category: My poems

POEM: Virginia/Gaza

Virginia/Gaza

We move boxes and couches, beds and lamps.

We pause to eat pizza and drink lemonade.

The kids help or play or get tired.

As we near the end there are gunshots
in the nearby woods. Hunters, or target practice.

The next-to-the-youngest one
asks if they’re fireworks.

We all say yes.

*

They move with nothing, to nowhere.

They keep their hands raised as they walk
but the soldiers shoot anyway.

There is gunfire everywhere.
There are explosions everywhere.

Flares set fire to the night
so the soldiers can keep shooting.

The next-to-the-youngest one
digs her baby brother out of the rubble.

/ / /

2 December 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: The Stages Of Watering A Dead Plant

The Stages Of Watering A Dead Plant

The first step is to not admit defeat.
Even as green turns to brown
and the leaves curl inward,
you must cling to delusion.

The soil will accept the water,
at least for a while.
It will join you in looking away

as you fill half a teacup at the kitchen sink
and upend it into the pot.

After a few days, though, the embarrassed soil
will release its burden onto the dish below.

This is the crucial moment,
as you dutifully carry the dish back to the sink,
then open the curtains
to bathe the corpse in light.

/ / /

25 November 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: Palestine Corner

Palestine Corner

One is a beekeeper.
One is barefoot.
One is from the Bay Area.
One is Kuwaiti.
One is a daycare worker.
One is from Iraq.
One is a boxer.
One is a nurse.
One is a newbie.
One is an old head.
One is a singer.
One is a guitarist.
One is trans.
One is bi.
One is a dad.
One is a mom.
One brings coffee.
One brings honey.
Cold mornings.
Rainy mornings.
They hold signs.
The cars pass.

/ / /

22 November 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: Vigil

Vigil

We stand on the street corner
because we can’t turn our
bodies into shields.

We stand on the street corner
to force other people to look.

We stand on the street corner
clutching our paper signs
and our cardboard signs,

looking into the eyes
of the passing drivers,
hoping for recognition.

We stand on the street corner
with our fathers and our daughters,
with friends and strangers.

We stand on the street corner
for those whose streets run red
with blood and fire.

We stand on the street corner,
praying to awaken
from our collective nightmare,

to discover it was all a dream,
that we are safe in the arms of loved ones,
that all we hear are birds

and the laughter of children.

/ / /

7 November 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: Everybody Thinks It’s True


Everybody Thinks It’s True

If things were different,
if things were how I wanted them to be,
you’d have been the first one I told.

You could have celebrated with me,
given me some pointers,
loved all of me. Instead,

I’m sitting on the porch in the twilight
listening to Paul Simon sing
“Train In The Distance.”

In ten days I’ll be in Tucson.
Are you still there?
Are you there?
Are you?

/ / /

5 November 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: Inconvenient

Inconvenient

I was telling the truth
when I said
I would love you forever.

/ / /

15 October 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: Let

Let

The dog is sleeping near the fireplace.
He’s been sleeping there for years.
A long time, really, for a dog.
He’s not dead. I checked.
He was just … overwhelmed?
It was all getting to be too much.
One day he nuzzled up against me
while I was sitting on the couch, reading.
I gave his head a pat and watched him
pad across the room to the braided rug.
He circled a few times, like he always does,
then settled in, paws crossed.
That was three, maybe four years ago.
I still use the living room, but I try to keep quiet.
No loud music, no sharp noises.
I fill his water bowl and food bowl every day.
Just in case.

/ / /

10 October 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: I Skipped “Maya The Psychic”

I Skipped “Maya The Psychic”

I raced home to tell you about
the production of Hamlet I saw tonight.
You would have loved it, or at least
you’d have loved that I loved it,
back when that was how things were.
I listened to our playlist on the way home:
“Supersoaker” and “National Express”
and “Stronger” and “The Ballad of El Goodo.”
I skipped “Maya The Psychic.”
Not because it’s not a good song
but because it sounds more like you
than I can usually handle.
Same with Hozier, who has new music out
and we play it on my station
which means every day
I sit there and listen and his voice
is really your voice.
Anyway Hamlet was fabulous
but when I got home it was empty.

/ / /

1 October 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: First Poem At A New Desk

First Poem At A New Desk

There’s an orange apron hanging
on a peg next to the sink, which is —
for no good reason other than that this
was never supposed to be an apartment —
in a closet.

I looked at it and imagined wearing it
as I make dinner for someone who’s
coming over for the first time.
On a date, I mean, but then I think:
If I didn’t do that, invite someone over
on a date, I mean, but instead stayed single,
perhaps you’d eventually come back.

I’m facing a blank grey concrete wall.
The desk came in a flat-pack box.
I assembled it with the included
Allen wrench, named after the
Allen Manufacturing Company
of Hartford, Connecticut,
the town where my father was born.

An Allen wrench is also called a hex key.
Will it, if properly applied, free me
from this curse?

/ / /

25 September 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: Describing A Satellite

Describing A Satellite

For the Earth,
both hands in an arc.
A fist for the moon.
Gravity a rope,
unseen in the dark.

Palms up for the tides,
both high and low,
the hands raise and lower
as they ebb and flow.

The planet spins,
the pull taunts,
the moon is what
the water wants.

/ / /

20 September 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: The Eternal Question

The Eternal Question

what do you do
with an excess
of rhyme?

/ / /

16 September 2023
Charlottesville VA

This is a quasi-found poem based on a misreading of an Instagram post by Jenny Mackintosh.

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