Thursday, June 23, 2011

I think I wrote these poems in 2009. No one has ever seen them. Isn't this a thrilling first?

Yesterday there was a tsunami.
I saw it on the news
Three-inch tall, wind-whipped palm trees
Suddenly sprouted on my TV screen
Or maybe those were from the hurricane
Last week.
I can’t remember.
Today I walked to the jewelry seller
On the corner, by the subway stairs,
And I bought a wooden bracelet
from the woman there
For four dollars.
I said,
Maybe this will help your brother
with the hollow eyes
But I never spoke those words.
Instead I thought how nicely
The bracelet dangled on my wristbone.
I stayed out a long time
Even though it was cold, and raw.
I took the subway all around the world.
I walked through the neighborhoods
And got lost,
Avoiding the train that would take me home:
There were uprooted trees
And hollow eyes
In my apartment.
Whew. Sharing poetry is tough. Glad I got that first one out of the way. These photos are from the same time period; it's a miracle they survived the Great Computer Theft of 2010.

I cannot let myself think
About work
Outside of work
Nor about my life outside of work
When I'm here.
They are two separate me's.
At home, rocking in front of the stove,
Chopping an onion in the kitchen,
Standing dripping in the shower
Or easing into bed with hair still damp,
I do not think of absent bosses
Of my low status
Or of the articles to read and letters to write
At least,
I try not to.
And at work, talking about the weather
While I wait for coffee to trickle into my mug,
Sitting under ugly lighting,
Picking at my cuticles
And listening to the irregular clicking
Of eight hands on four keyboards
The occasional tapping foot
Or muffled cough,
I do not think about you,
Needing to borrow my car once again,
And will you put gas in the tank
And will the dishes be done when I get home
Or must I do them myself, again,
After I bring up wood
Stamp away the wet snow
Let the dog out
And back in again.
Taxes wait in a file on the glowing laptop screen
And our future rests
In glances, words, the slightest gestures;
Is rubbing your back as you sit, forehead buried in your palms, right
Or wrong?
These are questions I do not ponder at work,
Or at least,
I try not to.

One more? Shall we?

There is a crusty muffin
Several days old
Sitting in of the cabinet
That I tell myself I will eat.
But really, it will be fed to the birds.
There is spoiled tomato soup
In the back of the fridge
Behind the ginger ale;
Hair balls under the couch;
And a pair of dirty underwear
Scrunched up at the foot of the bed
Along with the sheet
Pushed there by hot, impatient feet.
There’s a mostly empty bottle of shampoo
That outlived the conditioner,
And clothes I no longer wear
But think I might, someday.
There is a picture that makes me cry
Slid behind another that doesn’t.
There is a stain you cannot see on the floor,
And a toilet scrubber that I handle only very, very gingerly.

These were all written when I was 24 and living a life meant for someone three times my age. That's how it felt, anyway -- I couldn't wait to break free. And I did.

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