Wednesday, September 29, 2010

These Days

There is a shift, sometimes,
you can feel it if you lay very still at night,
while the rest of this city is sleeping.
You’ll feel the shift, like a crack.

And it’s down there
in that space between yesterday and today
in that never-was time,
that I fear I’m slipping into these days.

So instead of me, I’ll fill it with these things I carry,
with the journals I have kept
words inked with a dead octopus
on paper brittle and cracking
but always words,
with the postcards
and broken down carburetors
and sand from the beach
with the conversations
whispered over the tops of baby heads
and inside stalled cars in the rain
the wipers frantic like a dying creature.

With the stories I’ve told and retold and changed
so often that even I believe it might have happened that way,
with the rocks from English countryside
and the coasters from the cafes in Paris,
and the maps of Spain,
with the dust of too many silent months,
settling over my lungs,
with the broken keys of pianos
and snapped violin strings,
with the teeth that are falling out
and the stubbed toes and the banged knee
and the broken skull
and the tongues of dead boys.

And especially little letters like this,
from you,
slipped under my door,
that if stacked one on top of another
could reach the top of buildings
all begging for the same forgiveness
that I’m not so generous with,
these days.


  1. A shipwreck can be a beginning again and again.

  2. Ally Malinenko,

    I didn't know where to write you so I'm leaving this note here. I hope that's ok. I just read 2 of your poems in issue 11 of Gutter Eloquence Magazine. Although I enjoyed them both, "The Dead Weighed Even Less" was the one that for me anyway was off the charts in terms of its power. From its first stanza, with its weirdly lyrical/brutal image of the man's fingers tumbling "off his hand like a flower losing petals for want of warmth," to the closing image of the shoes, this poem is riveting - and imaaculate. Even the "Christ, where are the men like this?" stanza, about which someone conceivably could make the case that you've let your narrator say too much about her/his vision of the world, is to me a sign of the poem's strength. William Carlos Williams was like that - he could place things into the middle of poems that others might think were a bit too much but he was so good about building a momentum that dragged a reader to the end of the poem anyway that his skill triumphed (for the most port) over their reservations. That what you do n this poem. Anybody who can write a work like "The Dead Weighed Even Less" has a hell of a lot of great writing inside them. Just wanted to let you know that's what I thought.

    Robert Bohm

  3. Robert

    I can't thank you enough for that comment. I'm so glad that the poem spoke to you and I am humbled that you took the time to let me know. Thanks again.


  4. No problem. Have found some other pieces of yours online too, both prose and poetry. Much of it is very good.

  5. Thanks again Robert. I'm glad you are enjoying it and I appreciate the feedback.

  6. ...and again and again.