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Regular Poem: Gold Standard

10 Jul

buying flowers online always
seems like a scam
the site is always
shifting and trembling
pixels appearing and disappearing
shudder shudder stock photo
stock photo with shitty photoshop ribbon announcing

Next Day Delivery!
Florist’s Choice!
Summer Delight!
Robot Catchphrase!

i throw my money anyway
bind it up on an arrow light the arrow on fire launch the arrow
you hear tell of money buried
in coffee cans
money under beds
money in washing machine basins
i have $200 cash in my wallet
and the rest tied up in shady electronic florists

we’re off the gold standard so who cares

“‘you wanna bang or nah'” she says i should say
“that would probably be ineffective” i say

but we’re off the gold standard so who cares

there is
shoulda woulda coulda
but all we can really work with is
did do gonna

on second thought ought is not
a perfectly good modal auxiliary
requires an infinitive to get its point across
is old-timey and wishy-washy
i love it though

i love you though

efficiency vs expediency vs functionality vs sentimentality
a cage match no one wins

are you an appositive or an adjective clause
do i know the difference anymore

i used to quiz myself
but now i’m too stupid for that
the older i get the stupider i get
or maybe

i’ve been acclimating myself to it for years

(i’m a piece of shit
and i live laugh love that

first it’s a faraway criticism
then it’s internalized
finally it’s an identity

i can’t say i’m happier
but i’m truer

(but that’s nonsense
true is an an absolute adjective
an adjective that can’t be compared it’s either
true or not

[but where did i unearth that artifact
from my ancient storied past
{that grammatical ruin of a rule unpracticed and mostly forgotten except
in tales of gorgons and mermaids and me–
the me i am when i am
the mermaid of the year
and not just regular stupid me of tithes and tides}])

i don’t know how we got here

you say you know but i don’t really
believe you

we’re off the gold standard
and i wish i knew
what that really means

we’re off the gold standard
but i can’t believe you’re
not the gold standard
if the gold standard
means anything at all

do economics students forget as easily

who’s got the worst memory and the best


Regular Poem: Death of the Author

29 Jun

i’d be better at it

but then
i bristled and panicked

what does a fourth grader know about herself
“you have 24 hours to live. what do you do”

i watch star wars and hug some people
i don’t know i’m 9 and stupid

(the first day i wore a forest green knit polo
so heavy and hot in a kansas august
[so hot they limited us to half days
because the building was so ancient and sweltering
{it’s now an apartment complex–
hipster place that has repurposed the chalkboards and radiators}]
and i was just coming into my lady hormones
i should’ve used an antiperspirant
i was at such an impasse–
i wanted
mrs. herpolsheimer to know i was smart
but i also wanted
eric to know i liked him)

the personal experience prompt
is the worst prompt

i’d much rather

analyze, interpret, compare

skills i’ve honed

rather than talk about my own
attributes, attitudes, opinions,


goals are the absolute worst
they change
from moment to moment
and yet
want you
to have them from birth
an american dream
an innate thing
if you don’t have them

let me
philosophize analyze utilize
the text
as it is

9-year-old me
16-year-old me
doesn’t know a damm thing
about what
she really is
and she knows that and
she tries to tell you that
and you don’t accept that answer

there are barriers
on all sides
let her excel where she excels

i don’t know what to tell you
about myself
and i don’t know why
you ask

i’d rather
look at a poem
really look

i’d rather read a book
really read

that girl in the green polo
is so dumb
and so far

Regular Poem: Oscillating

18 Jun

click, shudder, click, whir

those old oscillating fans
mesmerize hypnotize anesthetize

the dusty ancient blades revolve revolve
you push your face to the metal cage
enunciate into it
cliches and quotations and nonsense
listen and feel
cold metal against your lips
the wind in your hair
the gravel
in your augmented voice

the stenographer in you can’t help but
type on those four keys
dark blue blue light blue white
and each a different reverberation

click, shudder, click, whir

“i would but i have a prayer group”
“gross why”
“because i’m the stupid religious one of the family”

i would be more offended
without 30 grand

he leaves i stay

i flirt with the bank teller and pretend
she’s more smitten than bored

i’m too keyed up
even to listen to my audiobook

click, shudder, click, whir

“once something good
comes through

it’ll be fine you just gotta
for that something good to come through”

the guy parked next to me at quik trip
is not talking to me
he’s on his phone
but we nod at each other anyway

the words are for me
but they’re not mine

click, shudder, click, whir

the acute anxiety
tongue on metal
when the click clicks too long
the shudder shudders too much
you broke it you broke it you
click whir
back to business

click, shudder, click, whir

a long rant
typos and malopropisms and misused homophones
poorly edited passionately written

i had planned to cry in the shower
but i was doing a clay mask
and therefore

click, shudder, click, whir

when’s the next full moon
surely that
explains it

it doesn’t explain it

nothing explains it

there is no
explanation except

i’m a degenerate itinerant
and so is the moon
and so are you

we wander as we wonder
out under the sky
poor wayfaring strangers
looking for a balm in gilead

click, shudder, click, whir

it blows
this way and
that way

it blows

Regular Poem: fool

28 May


a long time ago

i fooled you

i fooled you
into thinking i was
maybe even

and now
years later

you flush
and insist
my opinion
would’ve been the
opinion that

and now
years later

you still
defer to me
even about science
even though you majored in science and i just

i just dabbled
but i fooled you
and i fooled you
and i fooled

i fooled


people think i’m
smarter than i am

i used to be smarter
i put on a good show


but when these people
quiz me about these things
i know them

so maybe i am smart
or maybe

i fooled us all

Regular Poem: what it looks like

26 May

i know what it looks like
every time

i’m drinking black coffee
and milling around

and you’re here
executing a function

and it looks like
i’m not

executing any kind of function but
singing along to the radio


maybe that’s
my function

but later

i’ll be

dodging punches
wrestling someone twice my size in the backseat of a van
throwing someone against a wall
protecting you from teeth and fists

making fun of your outfit

(i don’t want
to deride it
i want you to know
i’m thinking of it
[and you]
and how it might feel
[how you might feel]
under my fingers
and how pretty it all
[you are]

i’m butch
by trade
and perhaps inclination
(i always wanted to rescue the princess)

i am forced to wear a ball cap
and dress accordingly

(there are only so many things
that look decent
with a baseball cap)

but if i had a choice

it’d be skirt suits and cocktail dresses
and sometimes tuxedoes

frivolous updos
painted nails and
red lipstick

why can’t a knight also
be a lady

(i bought a pair of glasses recently
that look like what a ’70s serial killer would wear

i mean
i skulk around certainly

i carry binoculars in my trunk
i think and drive and think and wish)

i tried to flirt with you

but i’m not good at it
i’ve been suppressed
in this ballcap
(i use it as an excuse
[but really
it does things
to my psyche])

i tried to flirt with you

(i had a crush
on a boy in ninth grade
he had such beautiful calves
and in biology class
[mrs. sorenson with the perfect skin–a story for another day]
one time he missed
such an easy shot into the garbage
and i laughed
and he looked
at me
with such disdain
that i


in that moment

i had feverishly imagined
over our shared summer pe credit

was gone

because i had miscalculated
because i was too me
and because
he was too
a justin}]

and i ought
to move on to the next
terrible hormonal crush)

i tried to flirt with you

but i insulted you instead

but unlike justin
(probably justin,
with the beautiful calves)
i think

you liked it

you liked
that i was so confused by your outerwear

you twirled
and let me touch it

you endured

my inspection and suspicions

(what’s the fabric? rayon? rayon.
it looks like a robe
i’d wear it to
lounge in my hammock)

what i didn’t say

was that i’d be nude beneath

but you knew
you knew
that’s what robe means

i’ve never seen your calves
i’m sure
they’re as pretty as justin’s
i know what you look like
and you know
what i look like

i tried to flirt with you
and you tried to flirt back

we’re both pretty

bad at it

Regular Poem: emily dickinson taught me

30 Apr

emily dickinson taught me
a lot of things
but raymond chandler did too

am i dashes and metaphors and birds
or am i stockings and pistols and
birds meaning ladies
of course
and so many metaphors besides

does contemporary fiction promise
the same promises?

i wish i’d taken a course
i wish i were

i read a book recently
film criticism
ten years out of date
distended in a yawning void of new
ideas i sometimes stumble upon

if only i were present
instead of this
of half-formed ideologies
peppered with arcane phrases
in my own circumscribed shit
pretending and avoiding

if only i were connecting and changing
but what
connections might i make
would they be progressive
or regressive
what neurons would be fired
what fires would be kindled

i stick
to my own house
my own life
my own feelings

i stick to
the side steets the diners
the birds and the birds

Regular Poem: I Don’t Read Enough Virginia Woolf to Make a Valid Argument

29 Apr

virginia woolf says it’s a thousand
pities never to say
what one feels

idk ginny

is that a thing anybody
calls virginia woolf?
do i care?

ginny, here’s the thing
i’ve got a room of my own
too many rooms of my own
and too many feelings in each one

i don’t want to say any of them
because i don’t want them in the first place

when i take a notion
to say a feeling
i say it too loud and too stupidly

maybe that’s the point
you’re making ginny
that to say what you feel
is a luxury
often squandered
on people who refuse to listen
and with lips that refuse to be articulate

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