200 bad poems (201-236)

You thought you were rid of me. But I had a head start. It was only right to continue until I had written 200 in this year. Now it is truly done.

I’d be betraying my friends and my poems by ending this with
bad Christian allegory—and I’d also be short of 200
since the first thirty-six were written in 2017

an interesting year
which I remember now
for a “couple things”

“a couple things”
a relationship, finally ended
a hundred emails
another relationship (more emails would follow)

writing these has been a kind of trial
and I’m not sure if it’s these poems or the weather
but I feel better than when I started

climbing the mountain
like I’m having the word for “sin” wiped off my forehead
by the brush of an angel’s wings, each poem is helping

the discovery
when I found the first 36, just last month
I was searching my hard-drive for a poem
I wrote in 2013 about “having a bad attitude”

the poem about having a bad attitude
was written after attending a craft workshop
in a museum in the middle of the country
attended by just me and two twelve year old girls

committed to my art
she looks at me from the couch
gets up, saunters over
but I’m writing these poems

committed to my art 2
with determination I turn back to the screen
she walks back to the couch
and hugs the dog

an owl sends me a “flame email”
it takes me three hours to download
it’s a 3D model of a rat, partially digested
in the centre is a message on a piece of paper: “fuck you”

a golden relationship
Fawn says “from a distance your relationship
seems ‘golden’”—which means, I think
that it casts a certain reflection and has a particular atomic weight

the cafe is packed
initially I can’t find a seat
I squeeze in between a stroller
and some guy watching “Rick and Morty” on his phone

things I tell Charlotte
I feel bad I don’t miss my cats
as much as I should right now, and, I don’t know
everything else seems OK

my answer
when people ask what I’ve been doing
I reach back into myself
and dart my eyes back and forth

inside myself
I walk from one corner of the room
to the other, and accidentally
bump a vase balanced on a plinth

dave gets cut off in traffic
what the fuck!
I can’t believe it

dave wins the superbowl
what the fuck!
I can’t believe it

dave is stranded on the moon
what the fuck!
I can’t believe it

an owl combs my hair
beating its wings
holding me still
I’m trying to swat it away

a silent morning
dishes in the sink
light splashed against the wall
a dog tearing back and forth

will I ever run again
whenever I think about running
an owl lands in front of me
spreads its majestic wings

darlene smears whiteout on the copier
it costs about five cents and takes
two seconds to just reprint it all—
darlene! what were you thinking?

a lineup in front of the “good” watercooler
ever since we got this new cooler
with the “cold” and “lukewarm” tap
the old cooler seems like a real piece of crap

a serious meeting
I’ve called all of you in here this morning
because I’m lonely and
I don’t know what else to do

let’s impose a vacancy tax
and combine our funds to live
in a big house in Forest Hill—the one I used to spy on
every week, with a well-kept pool and piles of boxes through the windows

if anything comes from these poems
I hope it has to do with solving the real estate crisis
or, perhaps, greater proliferation of and cultural exchange with owls

I do miss my cats
this month I saw them at least once a week
but I know they are well cared for
and it means I can stay more or less in one place

cat dreams
last year, I left my cats for over a week
the first time in maybe six years
after two weeks I dreamt their jaws fell off, horrifying

the first cat dream
came just after I crossed the Atlantic
I dreamt I floated back over the water
and explained in detail that I was just taking a trip

taking it further
imposing a vacancy tax on unused rooms will mean
homeowners will have to make some tough calculations
for instance: one living room, or two?

a “literary” ending
I don’t want to overstate the effect
that writing these poems has had on my psyche:
honestly they’re just bad poems

but in ending anything I always want
to pretend to some kind of revelation
something that gives the appearance of permanence
though always fleeting

2013, 2011, 2015, 2017
this isn’t a list of bad years
just years, in which I had
both a good and bad time

2012, 2016, 2014, 2018
the only problem with these years
is that neither the highs nor the lows
stayed put

my back was sore and I was looking up at the skylight
I was tired and I was thinking about life
everything seemed to be slipping away
not for good or bad had things changed
but in a way I never could have predicted
the variety seemed too much to endure

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