Forecast

I do not love you, but the cold, grainy
projection of your perfect future tense.
This is me admitting you will be loved
in one of my infinite possible
outcomes. We brushed hands over the lettuce
and I waited for—nope, didn’t work. And
I made a witty remark and then asked
you if—nope, didn’t work. And then I backed
off, but you struck up a conversation
in the frozen foods aisle and I flirted—
nope, didn’t work. And I pretended not
to be interested, and you asked me out,
and I—nope, didn’t work. And my girlfriend
never—nope, didn’t work. And it lasted—

Sterno

My heart has the capacity to heat
a cold breast peppered and lightly dressed with
lemon or some other favorite mess.
The words don’t come as easily as
eating. I’m often regurgitating
like a mother bird, closing my eyes and
turning away, never knowing if my
baby is swallowing all I have to
say. Where did this nest metaphor come from?
I thought I was talking about feeding
the masses at barbecues, communion
parties, corporate soirees, metal trays
holding my thoughts, keeping them warm over
a thin layer of near-boiling water.

Pool

Shut the fuck up with your open mouths like
gaping red wounds and various other
tired metaphors. Imagine the lipstuck
orifice as something new: two rare and
exotic plantains or some such foreign
fruit; a pair of the sexiest dead slugs
ever to be stepped on in Christendom;
whatever third example you’re thinking
of that might be better than the third that
I’m thinking of; a crescent-shaped backyard
pool well after midnight, two long banks of
cherry-colored LEDs lining the sides,
saltwater, not chlorine, and I’ve never
in my life been so in need of a swim.

Basketball

I write a damn lot of stupid poems.
Look at me sitting at my desk feeling
indignant. Look at me arguing with
myself over how other people should
live. There’s a basketball game on, and I
hope those players are happy. There’s a small
lime tree on my neighbor’s balcony, and
who the fuck needs to care but them? I see
the same grand vistas and lame internet
facsimiles as you, and nothing I do
will bring the world any closer to Truth.
Maybe there is a god, and maybe he
does hate gays, and maybe he is racist,
and maybe you’re right, I’m going to hell.

Smoke Detector

I’ve spent my whole life encased in plastic
awaiting tragedy. A light flashes
green to inform those near me I’m working,
processing only what’s in front of me.
There may be smoke in the next room, but my
battery is only strong enough to
monitor the here and now. Watch me hang
around contributing little to life
at night; ignore me completely during
the day when the threat of a blaze isn’t
as great; turn me off around dinnertime
so you don’t have to deal with my shrill voice;
protect yourself and everyone you
love by replacing me at least yearly

Classroom

It once was poets were secret sharers.
We had the facts and we voted obscure
references and high emotional
intelligence. We left it all to be
discovered, teaching men to fish for words
and women to fish for equality.
The lines are all different lengths and the
stanzas fat or short or unmeasured or
strictly structured, but each poem ending
eventually, often by its own
hand. But there are no secrets anymore.
We have nothing left to share but old rhymes
and dusty structures, as though metaphors
were heirlooms we found in a steamer trunk.

Recycling Bin

I’ve written nine poems today, and I
don’t expect any of them to be much
good, and neither should you, but I think
it’s entirely possible that if
I keep on like this I might maybe could
possibly eventually pen a
proper poem that students will loathe and
their teachers will force them to memorize
and, dare I even dream it, recite, and
someday later during an awkward date
conversation the realization
that my poem was actually great
will wash over one student like a wave
and s/he will say something that gets her/him laid.