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Bad Poetry

My Friends’ Husbands

You are a kind of family
Some very weird very distant cousin -
You are stuck with me and I’m stuck with you until death do you part.
Did you know when you picked her that you picked me too?

If we are a venn diagram then she is the middle and we intersect
And in this intersection
We sit, sexless, thigh-to-thigh on the couch
I help her fold laundry on a Sunday when you’re out of town, my fingers all over the hems of your shirts, the elastic waistbands of your underwear. (snap)

Her stories get confused in my memories
And I remember
the look in your eyes when you asked me to marry you down by the river
your hands on my knees when you went down on me in a back classroom
your cold pillow when you stayed out all night and never called
Makes me crazy

So when I see you I am clumsy
I have one foot in this memory that isn’t mine and the other in
this friendship that we didn’t choose
We sit, sexless, on the couch in a strange camaraderie
And she sits in the center of our intersection

But she was mine first.


It feels like spring today. I'm wearing a tank top as I walk back from the corner store, apples etc. in my shopping bag. I pass a girl wearing a heavy coat and boots. Maybe she didn't get the spring memo. Maybe my open-windows-sunlight-streaming made me misread it.

Taking the stairs in my apartment building two-at-a-time, I hear a sound. I wait for it to happen again. When it doesn't, I am dismayed until I realize I thought I was hearing the muffled foghorns that drift in pairs up from the Puget Sound and I am struck with a feeling like sea sickness - have to stand for a moment on the landing and get my bearings (DC not state) - and the sea sickness is replaced with homesickness and then I wonder if home is just a place where our expectations are always met and muffled foghorns always happen in twos?

Bad Poetry

I've been thinking about how subjective my own memory is. If my version of events is different than my friends' (and it often is), how can I trust my own history? In that spirit, here is a combination of an old poem and an older picture. They aren't related, but I'm not above sifting through the relics of my past and connecting them to see what new stories I can make.


Caught that one
Then let him go.


won’t go away
but won’t come through.


Tonight’s no good
but Friday’s free?


it’s back to me
and me

Creative Writing Assignment

Assignment: Take a poetry book. Open to any page, grab a line, write it down, and continue from there. Every time you get stuck, just rewrite the line and go from there.

After we flew across the country we got in bed, and let the
rubbing of limb-on-limb dislodge a cascade of our skin. Our skin fell
to the bedsheets (fresh because we always wash them before we go on a trip it’s so much better to come home to fresh sheets) and in the skin was the story of our trip: you tip waiters in foreign cities too much because you’re embarrassed that you don’t speak the language and I walk too fast and we got into a fight on the third afternoon but it turned out we just needed a nap and we didn’t take enough pictures but I sent postcards and all that is in our skin which we watch in wonder as flake upon flake fall and recreate the cities, museums, moments and restaurants we visited in perfect miniatures around us and our new skin is born together and that skin is called this moment now pink in its newness. You touch mine and I touch yours and we are old and new at once under each other’s fingers and surrounded by the miniature city of our past.

(I took the first line from Topography by Sharon Olds.)