I Was Minor

Olena Kalytiak Davis - 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.

Counting,
killing myself.

More by Olena Kalytiak Davis

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

Corruptive

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