like an apple

Crackers, rice, lentils, meat. But I would rather eat a poem, like an apple.

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Beetles, the Divine

We climbed the rocky steps in the drizzle,
Up to the church on the hill.
We reached the landing with an overlook, a little shrine.
A view that stops your breath.
The tower was closed till May,
But there was a drab hallway,
With an elevator. And a window
Cluttered with beetles, nestled there,
Slow and groggy with the cold.

Each boy caught one in his hand.
The younger one cupped his,
Talking to it. The older one, though,
Walked to the edge near the shrine
And made a show of letting his go.
“I don’t know if there’s a God,” he said
“I just know all creatures deserve kindness.”
And how that drowsy beetle flew.

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Late September 1983

We were four or five twelve-year-old girls,
crossing Sylvester Road in a kind of gaggle, and
this was my first fall not on the farm,
probably the farthest ever I’d walked
in a city. At least one of us had on Jellies,
not me, those things looked like tentacles
hugging your feet–well of course I’ll admit
I would have loved some, but I was the poor one,
plus this was almost October–so anyway,
I remember it was a sunny blue-sky kind of day,
that blue you only ever really see in Seattle,
99 Luftballoons was in my head, and probably
my feathered bangs were blowing in the breeze
(though not you-know-who’s, the Killer Bangs, ha)
and fuck for all I know, it was the very same day
when Stanislav Petrov secretly averted
the nuclear holocaust by ignoring false warnings
at his desk down in the earth in a bunker outside Moscow,
and here we were just talking and walking under a blue sky.

It happened when we got half way across,
the crossing signal, and keep in mind I had never seen
one like that before, I wasn’t accustomed yet to life
in the big city, I mean there were no cars anyway,
but we had waited for the green walking guy to come on,
before we crossed, and then not half way across, it changed to
the flashing red hand.  There was this moment then,
the rest of you were still walking, moving away from me,
but I just sort of froze there, because I saw the red hand,
I didn’t want to break the rule, but would you all? I was
wondering, and I don’t think any of you noticed,
and then it wasn’t really even a whole moment later,
suddenly I got it, that this flashing hand was
like a yellow light, it meant, “hurry up, you idiot!”
so I rushed and caught up and we just gaggled on.

NaPoWriMo Day 21. The prompt was “New York School,” with instructions. Fun.


I miss receipts that were blank on the back,
So quiet and empty, inviting a little list,
A reminder. Maybe some found poetry.
Now it’s always a dollar off of french fries,
Special discounts on haircuts,
And great rates on CDs. Buy now!

There’s almost nowhere left to be yourself.
Even in the bathroom at the park,
Sitting on the toilet, watching a spider
Circle where the stall’s post meets the floor,
Look up: they’re selling real estate,
Buy one get one free admission to the arcade.

Today at the laundromat, it smelled so
Fresh and flowery.  The sheets drawing
Across my skin, hot, dry, a little rough.
But in the air blared Today’s Best Country,
Shitty love songs sandwiched car commercials,
The tanning place, Big Lots!

When it was done and time to load the car,
I rolled one of those wire carts out the door,
And the wind and sun swung in like a wave,
Like a revelation, like a restoration,
Like a lover’s gaze. Then I was me again:
Yes, this one: this mind the wind sees in me.

I don’t know if this worked. NaPoWriMo day 19



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