I Was Minor

- 1963-

In this life,
I was very minor.

I was a minor lover.
There was maybe a day, a night
or two, when I was on.

I was, would have been,
a minor daughter,
had my parents lived.

I was a minor runner. I was
a minor thinker. In the middle
distance, not too fast.

I was a minor mother: only
two, and sometimes,
I was mean to them.

I was a minor beauty.
I was a minor Buddhist.
There was a certain symmetry, but
it, too, was minor.

My poems were not major
enough to even make me
a “minor poet,”

but I did sit here
instead of getting up, getting
the gun, loading it.

killing myself.

Least Said

Maybe we you us
But not everyone except
Everyone else seemingly set
One could romanticize the shipbells
Out of somebody else's grocery, sex shopping, life cleaning, bills 
Of sail. When they had fresh grapefruit it was nothing like you not having
Scurvy, with or without the vodka. Your friends 
Did they still say things (?) and the masses—
No, one didn't want to picture that vast
Writhing. Self-love is better left to this selective peculiar:
One shelf over, top shelf. The yeats, the years, none of it
More real than this. The judgment, the particular partings:
Reading a new yorker article about you. Reading. An article.
A small monster at my toe. There was once a long lusty list but
The only thing s/he had on me was feet. I went to course, to game, to 
College. The epiphany was not worth dwelling (placement word of 
Your choice here). Not to speak of, or the her, him, him before him, your last 
Lover but, "seeing someone else right now"? Mostly, the possessive pronoun
"Her" in the next clause. Whose unfairness? Be spoken and be longing. 
(An embarrassment of melons and heavily salted meats.)
The thing you will miss was being sexy, you will forget that you went 
Forgetting all along; the whole ride. Going, going. Not coming. Reading,
Too closely, will fail my the measure of some treasure 
You believe exists, but how? Morning was the only mooring: feeling, 
Thinking, seeing no one. Right 
Now. Or now. Barely tolerated, living.

My Love Sent Me a List

O my Love sent me a lusty list,
Did not compare me to a summer's day
Wrote not the beauty of mine eyes
But catalogued in a pretty detailed
And comprehensive way the way(s)
In which he was better than me.
"More capable of extra- and inter-
Polation. More well-traveled -rounded multi-
Lingual! More practiced in so many matters
More: physical, artistic, musical,
Politic(al) academic (I dare say!) social
(In many ways!) and (ditto!) sexual!"
And yet these mores undid but his own plea(s)(e)
And left, none-the-less, the Greater Moor of me.

About this poem:
"No, really, a found poem; however, I also find, that if one reads thirty or so Shakespearean sonnets in a row (out loud), something is bound to happen."

Olena Kalytiak Davis


The dark wood after the dark wood: the cold 
after cold in April's false November.
In that second worser place: more gone, less there,
but in that lurid present present, cast and held, 

rooted, kept, like some old false-berried yew. 
Just against; the door leading to preferment 
shut; no longer believing in still, by some, few
means, method, could be, but for the bad day set, 

left, leaning atop bad day. 
							Out- and un-

ranked, toothached, wronged— rankled corruptive thing!
Ill-wishing, in-iquitous, clipped, up-hoped, stripped: just plain: thin.
Dare thy commit: commit this final fatal sin: 
God my God, I am displeased by spring.

Related Poems

from One With Others

     People study the dingy chenille clouds for a sign.


     People did what they have done.


     A town, a time, and a woman who lived there.


     And left undone what they ought not to have did.




     I take one more drive across town thinking about the retired welding teacher easing over that rise seeing the parking lot full of white men. I wonder if he thought he would die in the jungle [where no Vietcong ever called him [N-word]  ] or he would die in front of the bowling alley [without ever having been inside] or die in the swimming pool [without ever having been in it, except when drained, and the police had him in their sights]. Or if, because he was a young man, he would never die. I attach V to my driving-around thoughts.


     An object unworthy of love she thought she was.


     It was a cri de coeur.


     Those of our get had given her a nom de guerre: V.


     A simple act, to join a march against fear

     down an old military road.


     We were watching an old movie the night


     the table started walking toward us


     and there was trouble on Division.


     She became a disaffiliated member [of her race].


     I'm one of them now, she said, upon release


     from jail. I am an invader.




     Look into the dark heart and you will see what the dark eats other than your heart.


     The world is not ineluctably finished


     though the watchfires have been doused


     more walls have come down


     more walls are being built


     Sound of the future, uncanny how close


     to the sound of the old


     At Daddy's Eyes


     "Pusherman" still on the jukebox


     Everybody's past redacted




                                                                                   For me


     it has always been a series of doors:


     if one is opened precipitously a figure is caught bolting from bed


     if another, a small table, a list of demands on school paper


     if another, a child on the linoleum, saying she wants a white doll


     a woman sitting on a bed, holding a folded flag


     a shelf of trophies behind her head


     an ironing board, bottle of bourbon on the end


     sewing machine on a porch


     To walk down the road without fear


     To sit in a booth and order a sweet soft drink


     To work at the front desk


     To be referred to as Gentleman


     To swim in the pool


     To sit in the front row and watch Run Wild, Run Free [next week: Death of a Gunfighter]


     To make your way to the end of the day with both eyes in your head


     Nothing is not integral


     You want to illumine what you see


     Fear reflected off an upturned face


     Those walnuts turning black in the grass


     It is a relatively stable world


     Gentle Reader


     But beyond that door


     It defies description