Don’t

Don’t tell me
about your unrequited love
the one you’ve been pining for
I’ve heard that shit before.

Spare me your tales of childhood rape
father’s rage
mother’s fear
as if you were
the only one who suffers
I don’t care
about
your existential tragedies

Come to me naked or avoid me altogether:
Leave your facades for those who think in words.
Show me the silence
behind
your mouth and body language

We are in a room
too small for movement
Dance me with your stillness
or shut up

Weather

These days,
Under-the-weather
is the new normal.

Yes, I get out of bed
But only for very good reasons:
Peeing, pooing, but not farting.

Brush my teeth twice a day.
Make that twice in a row,
every other day.

Showering is
for special occasions only
Birthdays, anniversaries,

Christmas, but not New Year
Because there’s nothing New
about the New Year.

It’s the same uninvited guest
with a plus one this time
A re-run of last.

Same resolution to
lose the same five pounds
Run the same 10k, only slower.

The same year,
But for a hotter summer,
a colder winter.

We Should Be Prepared

The way the plovers cry goodbye.
The way the dead fox keeps on looking down the hill with open eye.
The way the leaves fall, and then there’s the long wait.
The way someone says we must never meet again.
The way mold spots the cake,
The way sourness overtakes the cream.
The way the river water rushes by, never to return.
The way the days go by, never to return.
The way somebody comes back, but only in a dream.

Mary Oliver died today.

Work, Sometimes

I was sad all day, and why not.  There I was, books piled
on both sides of the table, paper stacked up, words
falling off my tongue.

The robins had been a long time singing, and now it
was beginning to rain.

What are we sure of?  Happiness isn’t a town on a map,
or an early arrival, or a job well done, but good work
ongoing.  Which is not likely to be the trifling around
with a poem.

Then it began raining hard, and the flowers in the yard
were full of lively fragrance.

You have had days like this, no doubt.  And wasn’t it
wonderful, finally, to leave the room?  Ah, what a
moment!

As for myself, I swung the door open.  And there was
the wordless, singing world.  And I ran for my life.

Google Query Subtexts

Am I a horrible person
Am I selfish
Am I dying
Would my grandparents say
Where did my grandparents come from
Where did their beliefs come from
What will I regret in twenty years
Am I dying tomorrow
Am I lazy
How can I help another human with all of their interiority
Will my child learn how to live without me
Will he feel loved and know how to locate happiness
and how to reach for it
Will my child be ok
How long do we have together
All of us who love each other what do we get to keep
What portion Any of it
Using what I already have what can I eat
How does one prepare this strange vegetable
Can I ask an imaginary great grandparent how they would do it
What crucial step have I forgotten
Why haven’t I learned this yet
Can I prevent regret
What will stop the world’s insistent imploding
Does how I look become a portal into my self
Am I accurately communicating my values
through my home
How is this other human doing
How do other humans live
Am I doing this right

Hannah Stephenson

my comrades

this one teaches
that one lives with his mother
and that one is supported by a red-faced alcoholic father
with the brain of a gnat.
this one takes speed and has been supported by
the same woman for 14 years.
that one writes a novel every ten days
but at least pays his own rent.
this one goes from place to place
sleeping on couches, drinking and making his spiel.
this one prints his own books from a duplicating machine.
that one lives in an abandoned shower room
in a Hollywood hotel.
this one seems to know how to grant after grant,
his life is a filling-out of forms.
this one is simply rich and lives in the best
places while knocking on the best doors.
this one had breakfast with William Carlos Williams.
and this one teaches.
and that one teaches.
and this one puts out textbooks on how to do it
and speaks in a cruel and dominating voice.

they are everywhere.
everybody is a writer.
and almost every writer is a poet.
poets poets poets      poets poets poets
poets poets poets      poets poets poets

the next time the phone rings
it will be a poet.
the next person at the door
will be a poet.
this one teaches
and that one is living with his mother
and that one is writing the story of Ezra Pound.
oh, brothers, we are the sickest and the
lowest of the breed.

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