I haven’t learned to write poems
where the basketball leaves my hand, flies through the air
and spontaneously combusts.
I mine experience, mine
or someone else’s, using cheap
red wine as a refrain.
I pour the café a cappella group
into my crock with a bonsai tree
and a few cups of milk. I stir until thickened.
I keep lists of poem ideas: God
as a giant squid, rewriting fortune cookies,
taking the train on a sunny day.
I pour sugar on everything,
twist my baseball cap sideways, verb the noun
to hide the fact that I’ve written poems
I smoke in the kitchen
so the sensor will go off and someone
somewhere will think I’ve found fire
I forget the key to my apartment building
and desperately tell any girl who lets me inside
how much I love her
I purposefully defy the rules
I have set for myself. But you expected that, didn’t you?
I want to drink cheap red wine and
die sometimes, tell my friends I love them
and the times have been good.
I suppose there’s nothing wrong
with that, if poetry is a reflection of life
and life is all a summation. But still,
I can’t get myself to pull down the Christmas lights
in my bedroom. I’ll wait for a bulb
to blow instead, so the circuit breaks all at once.
Published in Penn Review Volume 46, Issue 1