Bio Note: I am a non-practicing vegan, nontheist, jogger, gardener, poet, and songwriter—with seventeen personalities in internecine strife. I am happiest fiddling with poetry, blowing leaves, making snowflakes out of toilet paper rolls, and folk-dancing. My most recent poetry books are SHOUT! Poetry for Suffrage, in which I write from the points of view of key figures in the battle for franchise; Beware the House, inspired by my Transylvanian vampire family; and Surfing for Jesus, on the intersection between contemporary religion and commerce.
for Coming Down from You
I get it—we’re done. But where is the patch to slap onto my left butt for the slow release from the if-only-I—if-only-I DTs? I’m a robot vacuum cleaner—Vroomba, Vroomba-ing in a maze of memory— sucking up here the pills of what I said, there the needles of what I didn’t. I’m rolling out rolling paper, laying in line after line of what got aged, dried up, crushed between us. I’m licking the edge of our days; striking the match. I am your Babylon, your Gomorrah, puffing out cartoon bubbles of zingers, smoke rings of come-backs. Turn around—just once— give me something to chew on— Nicorette, Lucy, Habitrol— to unhook me from making up words for you.
What’s what when I’m who-knows-where? Am I forking the asparagus on my plate at the ashram? In my mind, I’m back home, instead, mulching winter roses. Cloneless, I span geographies: stab an asparagus spear in Lenox, MA, and I’ve thought myself home to Livingston, NJ two hundred miles away— my shoulders hunched over a shovel, cultivating wet compost, my gut cranking enough acid to digest a yard of hay. Is it any different, forking or pitchforking when, when I am back home mulching those roses, the get-it-over-withs hit—and I’m riffling catalogues for another gardening tool, something with more tines, better balance, some power-something so I can get the yard done, and Houdini myself back into the ashram’s Olympic-sized whirlpool? Oh, if only I could bring this poem around to the asparagus… but I’m neither eating asparagus nor gardening— the scenario above happened twenty years ago— this is my usual growing more mental legs than a butt can organize. Writing this is another other and else —Go-Go Goddess Durga that I am—riding her lion, reaching a thousand arms fore, aft, googly-eyed, tongues lolling—doing my Stations of the Not-Here—dragging around a rake for what is
When You Say “Let’s Just Be Spontaneous”
When I ask, “When can I see you again?” you say, “Let’s just be spontaneous.” Is it code? Am a burden, you’ll fit in if you’re bored? Worse, a put-off? You treat me like a Hilfiger button-down shirt, price tags dangling in your closet, sleeves empty; collar still pinned, front creased against the rub of other clothes—shuttling in, shuttling out; the piece idling for the party or the match to jeans that never happens. I want to be your gray WalMart tee— pilled, dark armpits, collar fraying; warm from you, and moist; your armor, your pet, your disguise; running, eating, sleeping with you without changing for days. Waiting for your cue is the dues I pay for being “special,” as you call me— an impulse buy waiting in the supermarket queue; the one held in reserve, sucked into its shrink-wrapped cellophane— care instructions irrelevant.
©2021 Susanna Rich
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell her or him. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is what builds the community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -JL