Poems from Federal Poets
About storing things you have said
Things you have said
can be salted and stored
in large casks, to be thrown overboard
in case of pursuit.
Make them palatable for further digestion
by soaking them for hours ahead of use.
Be careful which hold you pack them in:
always put the heavier things
in the lower hold, in the stern,
so that you do not founder
in a making sea.
* * *
wedded my best girl.
I thought they’d never
make it as a couple:
a nuclear shade of winter
and the color of spring,
stars and black holes,
the other helping build
floats for a parade
heading straight into
Too many of their interests
wouldn’t mesh, though
the sex would slay them
both with euphoria,
the Reaper reluctant
to give either up.
Maybe this is about how
I failed to offer her anything
but a thumbs up when
she decided to paint life
black with her fortunes.
How I stepped into a garden
and simply fell asleep
for a thousand years.
How she wasn’t able to find me,
though the signs glowed
like Vegas, my breath blew up.
* * *
“You have something on your butt,” she said
she had been sitting and reading, “The Help,”
and didn’t appear to notice her boyfriend
until she looked up and found some imperfection
a slice of light brown not really like [expletive]
but more like something that might fall from an ice cream cone.
He was standing with his side to her, holding onto the pole,
earlier he had let her sit down
She rose from her seat, letting go of the book,
walked over to him, crouching down, level with his [expletive],
and with her pointing-finger
she began to flick off the mysterious dropping that had obviously
upset her sense of him.
She rolled the grime between her thumb and her finger
until it disappeared perhaps into her own skin
or maybe it dropped to the floor
and she put her finger to her nose, sniffed, then smiled,
sat back down and continued reading her book.
He instantly tried to help, reaching with his hand and pulling at his pants
then pressing the flesh of himself, trying to get the stuff off,
but, she had already done the work.
She was the help.
He could have been her lover, her husband, her date,
but reading about the maids of rich people absorbed her more
than her boyfriend whose tall body must not have any imperfections.
I imagined that their sex life was incredible but probably very clean
and then the train stopped, he found a seat next to her.
she read, her played a game on his iphone, and it was Friday night.
I got off at the next stop and wondered what it would be like
to be so young, so clean, and filled with so little to say.
* * *
I told my mother I did not want any babies
I wanted babies I wanted a creche full of babies
I wanted babies
sweet round babies
Like bowls of m & ms Like marshmallows
Whose roly poly bodies
you could pour on your face
piles of babies Babies you could wrap yourself in
like bubble paper The world could not crack or injure you
because you were wrapped in babies
My husband did not agree
We had a big fight Not about babies
He thought it would be a good idea to pave
the back yard so we wouldn’t have to more any more
Of course we divorced
A few years later I met someone who preferred
living matter to construction material
I fell in love when he told me he was driving
his Red 1972 Road Runner to work
when he found
his neighbor’s cat had been hit by someone’s car
and instead of going to work he took Buttercup
to the vet swaddling her in his jacket
He noted how her blood fell like cinnamon balls
to roll beneath her fur until they flattened
She cried and bit his arm when he laid her in the car
determined to rescue her
even though I knew what her heart’s stain would
do to his white leather seat
* * *
Poems from Hart Middle School students
Forgive me unnamed. I lost
my daddy before I was
Forgive me he never said
what he said. He never took
back his word.
I don’t know what I
became. Forgive me. An anger
books on the floor,
ripped paper under my feet.
* * *
Poem to the Unborn Child
You weren’t born into
this world because I
was not ready to
have you because I
would be lonely I
wasn’t ready to have
a family yet, I would
gaze out the window
and wonder and think
about not telling my
child about what I said
and how I said it.
* * *
Get Your Elbow Off The Table
I was raised by get your elbow
off the table, don’t never say you’re
not able, get dat money real faithful
type of family.
Always on my back, never let me
slack, they always stay packed
Do anything for me, loved me to the
max type family.
Get your butt in this house
fore I tear you up. Always
drinking out the juice cup
Tore up off the goose
put a lil cranberry in it to
give it a boost, come over
here and give Grandma a
smooch type family.
Hand me the remote right
here beside me, move out of
the way of the TV I can’t see
Come here boy, then smack
me in my head, I know you
ain’t wet your bed, even though
I did, I’d tell her it’s water instead
You better do your homework
beat with the belt had me crying
like water type family.
* * *
I be of DC
I be a block from Eastover
I be having glitter in my hair
I be goofy all the time
I be happy all the time
I be cute a lot I be having nothing to do
playing with my puppy I be
eating popcorn on the couch I be
Wingate all the time. I be school I be
all the fun times I be loving my family I be
I be happy because the world makes
me and I be
* * *
Your rules are
we make up, like
truck and still