Post #1 for NaPoMo

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I’ll meet you there

I promised.

And then I never showed up.

I sat on the sofa in my living room

with a blanket drawn up over my head.

I promised.

But the words lost their way.

They are opening cupboards in the kitchen

to find the chocolate hidden there.

I promised.

But desire is sitting out on the deck.

She’s searching for stars and a night wind

to stir the embers left behind.

 

First poem post for National Poetry Month challenge. More time and effort in posts to come. Just wanted to get some peanut butter spread on this first slice of bread.

Can’t write a poem tonight, NaMoPo

It’s like being on a diet and eating Cheerios and skim milk
every morning for weeks because you know
how many calories a bowl of cereal has.
Because you don’t have to look it up on a calorie counter site.
Or make up a number to write down in a little yellow book.
And the milk will turn sour if you don’t drink it soon.
But who wants to read a poem about a bowl of cereal anyway.

So good night.

In Walt Whitman’s Bedroom

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No photos, the tour guide warns.
It is just this college intern and me
on a long gray locks of a day,
standing next to Whitman’s bed,
the real one, not a replica, he recites.

I burn to capture images of his boots,
the paintings on his walls,
a green leather-bound copy of Leaves of Grass,
the piles of paper on a table by a window.
I want to sit down on his narrow bed
where he died in this same month of March.
But the boy watches me carefully.
Other visitors have tried to do the same.

Just one? I ask. He shakes his head.
I look out Walt’s window and linger as long as I can.
I am the only one who stopped by today,
and it is time to close. He says
I should not be in Camden after dark.

Outside, on the fake cobblestones,
I take all the photos I want.
I look up at his window one last time.
Walt was a sick old man when he lived here.
He revised his verse for the last time.
Yawped one final mighty yawp.

The boy locks Walt’s door behind him
and runs across the boulevard to the station.
I get in my car and drive around the block,
where rows of half-burned and boarded-up houses
remind me that Whitman would have found
someone here to celebrate, too.

Writing your heart out

That’s what you want to do.
Write till it hurts.
Write till it stops hurting.
Write till the whole world
Finally says, “Okay, we get it now.”

But there’s so much that can go wrong.
Beware writing your heart out.
They’d rather you eat your heart
Than wear it on your sleeve.
Beware. Then write.

What’s Never Said

The monologue in my head
Goes on and on.
Even now. The words on the page
Are not the words in my head.
I know you both.
Sometimes
You urge each other on.
Sometimes
Like now
You both fight to be heard.
So is there a third voice
That never speaks?
One that simply sighs
Or holds its breath,
Until both voices
Comply?