the elk breaks up with me
April 15, 2014

Stop what you’re doing. Stop it right now. Okay. Now go read Patricia Lockwood’s hilarious essay, “Is It Work?” In addition to being an extremely talented poet, Lockwood is insanely hilarious (and also really good at twitter). But to the point: in this particular satirical essay, she argues that poetry is indeed work, even if the only sweating involved is “the weird thing that sometimes happens under your right arm because you haven’t lifted it up for 8 hours.” And she also pokes fun at several canonical poets, such as Elizabeth Bishop, who “only ever wrote one poem, a villanelle about an elk breaking up with her (“The Elk Breaks Up with Me”).” On that note, I realized that the internet needed this poem. Desperately. So I wrote it. 

(With endless apologies to Bishop, whose original poem, “One Art“, you should probably read)

The Elk Breaks Up with Me

Breaking up isn’t hard to master;
so many loves seem filled with the intent
to break that their break is no disaster.

Break a heart every day. Accept the fluster
of broken promises, the text badly sent.
Breaking up isn’t hard to master.

Then practice breaking farther, breaking faster:
engagements, marriages, who it was you meant
to call. None of these will bring disaster.

I broke my purity ring. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of friends with benefits went.
Breaking up isn’t hard to master.

I broke two romances, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some oaths I swore, two pacts, without lament.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

–Even breaking up with you (the fuzzy nose, a feature
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
breaking up’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

sometimes poetry rhymes
January 13, 2012

Grave stone

Silence is a thing my tongue knows how to say
while I am practicing my art of the alone –
my heart and shadowed self love every gray

turning path where feet have marked the way
from night to dawn, to sun, past creek and stone.
Their silence is a thing my tongue knows how to say

to dusky forms that sleep through all the May
fogs and whisperings of buried bone.
My heart and shadowed self love every gray

turn of phrase the ground hides from the day –
the murmur of the deep down and unknown
whose silence is a thing my tongue knows how to say.

And all the searching hands that stray
from mine, they noiselessly intone
that my heart and shadowed self love every gray

closing of the eyes and every way
to sleep against the grain of the alone.
My heart and shadowed self love every gray
silence – a thing my tongue knows how to say.

Villanelle
February 2, 2011

Never for not Always

Yours is the beautiful bounteous dear darling most ever
in all the worlds, most amazing, until now and then,
for here and always, in my eyes, never for never.

Yours is the hand on the gallows’ lever;
yours is the authority and the final say, the last amen.
Yours is the beautiful bounteous dear darling most, ever.

When was this (us we you and me) ever for forever?
Our vow was signed and sealed and shipped (x10)
for here and always, in my eyes, never for never.

Did I say I love you? I’ll say this: you’re clever
with your fingernails and lips (and once more always and again,
yours is the beautiful bounteous deardarlingmostever).

And so before we part and sever
the you and me from we, before I put away my pen
for here and always, in my eyes, never for never,

this stanza is my last endeavor:
I ask you why you worry when,
for here and always, in my eyes, never for never,
yours is the beautiful bounteous dear, darling, most ever?