I apologize for the lack of NaPoWriMo posts. Things here–and not here–have gone sideways. I hope to resume normal service soon.
I saw Cindy Sheehan speak at Fowler Hall tonight. She seemed nice.
[NaPoWriMo poem #11.]
Tanka for an MFA Program Admission
Chilled air, whispering
above my head. I have reached
the end of this life.
Five hundred miles away lies
the next chapter. Be there soon.
[NaPoWriMo poem #10. This is for Kevin, who is not into sappy bullshit poetry.]
This is How Much I Hate You
I hate you so much I go out to bars
and study for quizzes. I hate you
so much I took a second job. I hate
you so much I let my hair grow out,
and then I paid $60 for a perm.
I hate you so much I bought a poncho
and wore it in public. I hate you so
much I eat meat. I hate you so much
I got an American Express card.
I hate you so much I stole a shirt
out of your closet while I was trashed
and gave it to someone else, then
stayed out until five in the morning
so I wouldn’t have to listen to you
complain, justifying the act to myself
by saying you never wore it. I
hate you so much I wrote this poem,
even after I told you I don’t actually
hate you at all. I hate you so much.
[NaPoWriMo poem #9. Yes, it’s a day late. Sue me.]
25 Things I’ll Miss About Purdue
Phosphates at the Sweet Shop. Empty lecture
halls at five in the morning. The incline
in the sidewalk from the Boilermaker
statue to Mackey Arena. Texas
Straw Hats from the dorm cafeteria.
Walking from Purdue West back to campus.
Bunk beds pushed together in Harrison,
the sounds of Hillenbrand Hall construction
tumbling into the open windows while
we slept. The first day the fountains are turned
on. The Memorial Mall, abandoned
during the dog days of Maymester. Books
stacked on shelving carts in HSSE, waiting
to go back out on the floor. The home stretch
of lab open, and the scrumptious muffins
waiting for me at Stone when I finished.
Monday morning shopping therapy, with
bonus eighteen hour sleepfests. Almost
getting tear gassed while trying to perform
my assigned duties. Words I composed on
the front page of The Exponent. White noise
wrapping itself around me, drowning out
conversation in the machine room. Black
and gold as far as the eye can see. Von’s
Shops. Iced mochas from Vienna. Pocky
from the Food Mart. Making out in Fowler
House with someone else’s boyfriend. Riding
the trolley back downtown after a long
day of classes. My second poetry
workshop with Marianne, and my first with
Mary Leader. Asking your name, even
though I already knew it, then kissing
you again. A non-descript webcam stuck
into a corner in your office. That
look you gave me as we walked away from
each other in the hallway the other
day, that told me you already knew
the secret I was holding close to me.
[NaPoWriMo poem #8.]
The Uncomfortable Act of Waiting
"I want to be something you can control," he said, and I curl into his lap without hesitation, slide my face against a white shirt that's seen better days. My fate rests in the hands of faceless committees, my paperwork lying on tables, the pages quiet and small when I am no such thing. I twirl a balloon string in my small hands and think of thousands waiting just as I am now, smoking cigarettes fifty feet away from the nearest building, reaching for glasses of Bordeaux, endlessly refreshing web pages, anything to keep from losing it. I am not doing so well in that regard at the moment, I think, as tears well up again. My hair is petted, smoothed down. Gentle rocking pulls me away from my worry.
[NaPoWriMo poem #7.]
We Will Never Get to the Courtship Stage
I know these early morning streets,
unlike you, and I can become one
with the pavement in seconds. Look
around and you’ll be lucky to catch
sight of a tree with a handbag
caught in a branch, swaying
in the wind, in the fear of discovery.
Funny how I used to be all about
staying open to possibilities.
Possibly I won’t be around for you
to kick. So why let you get close?
I’ll cat and mouse you until someone else
comes along and distracts you from what
you believe is a prize. I’ll hold
my breath and dart around corners,
race across empty intersections, keeping
eyes front, fixed on the near future,
my resolve trying not to waver.