Rejected Files: A Couple of Poems

Here are a couple of poems I’ve written recently, which have been rejected by several publications. It’s entirely possible that they’re just not very good, but I still feel a kind of affection for them, the way you would love your kids even if they were funny-looking. Poetry is not usually my main thing, but I do enjoy dipping into it every now and then.

Enjoy!

The Penitent Magdalene

We don’t all get someone who walks into our lives and casts out our demons.

 

I take my pills with coffee every morning.

I eat lunch every day.

I light candles at night.

 

I tried a DIY exorcism, is all, with whiskey

and a razor. I didn’t want to die. Maybe

I didn’t want to die. Maybe I wanted

 

to cast off this body with its sweat and its hair and

its constant moaning hunger. Maybe it was an act

of penance. Maybe I just wanted to see my blood

and find the source of the disease.

 

I vacuum my apartment floor.

I change the cats’ litter box.

I do not go outside much.

 

We don’t all get writhing ecstasy before the face of God.

 

Sometimes I’m brushing my teeth or sitting on the balcony

with a cigarette, and a little thought forms, and it feels like

a moment in time that could only exist within me. It feel like

this small, particular gap in the universe is mine

and mine alone.

*

Kindness

Sometimes when my thoughts are running towards a cliff,

I talk to myself. I’ll say, Now look here, darlin’.

(One of my favorite things about being Texan

is that I can employ a soothing Southern drawl

when I need to.)

 

Some days can be harsh. Some days I talk to myself

more like a tense parent about to snap. You can’t.

You can’t. We’ve been over this and over this.

It’s the voice of a hand raised, the kind of hand

that may or may not strike. How many times

do I have to tell you? How many times?

 

And there are days that are terrible, sure.

Days that are a bit unhinged, like the young woman

I met in a psych ward, screaming down the phone.

Fuck you. I hate you.

 

But look: sometimes I put my right hand on my left shoulder.

And sometimes I talk like an old woman in a diner

offering cherry pie. I can see it’s been a long day.

Here, sugar. Here. There are moments worth

hanging in there for. I think. I can’t promise.

 

Here, honey.

 

Here, baby love.


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