I wanted to be the one who thought of truck bed walls.
You locked yourself in the bathroom
so I couldn’t brush my teeth before bed.
Where is this going and will it be successful? I hate bullies.
She’s been everywhere she even heard
the shot that killed John Lennon.
From now on I’m sticking up
for myself. My notes and to-do’s have flowers.
I don’t want to die. I feel scared all the time.
What you looked like as a child is clear.
The way you run from the hot tub
and throw yourself in the pool.
When they were joining the EU.
I worry about mine.
Have you ever seen your own cervix?
You’re like a natural matzoh ball maker.
Why did I ever want to be in the couple
with the white walls three shoes and lots of art.
Scarves from museum shops.
I sat your kid on my counter
and we spilled food everywhere.
The nickname grandchildren give is the one you die with.
Everyone wanted to see a movie where the woman turns to stone.
They say Maria Falconetti never acted again.
The gym was impossible after I fell on my knee.
I walked up to you and cried.
Why do you treat your son better than your daughter.
Talk about something else like did anyone ever call you bro.
If I were to live my life
in catfish forms
in scaffolds of skin and whiskers
at the bottom of a pond
and you were to come by
when the moon was shining
down into my dark home
and stand there at the edge
of my affection
and think, “It’s beautiful
here by this pond. I wish
somebody loved me,”
I’d love you and be your catfish
friend and drive such lonely
thoughts from your mind
and suddenly you would be
and ask yourself, “I wonder
if there are any catfish
in this pond? It seems like
a perfect place for them.”
From The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster by Richard Brautigan, published by Houghton Mifflin. Copyright © 1989 by Richard Brautigan. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.
But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records . . .
Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.
"So Much Happiness" from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems by Naomi Shihab Nye, copyright © 1995. Reprinted with the permission of Far Corner Books.
was when the
the whole city
& we drove north
to our friend’s
where she had
power & we
later we stayed
in the darkened
apt. you sick
in bed & me
by candle light
in thin blue
your neighbor had
a generator &
after a while
we had a little
bit of light
I walked the
dog & you
a little bit
we sat on a stoop
one day in the
we had very little
money. enough for
a strong cappuccino
which we shared
sitting there &
city was lit.
Copyright © 2014 by Eileen Myles. Used with permission of the author.