1990s · Poetry · Things Mean A Lot At The Time · Unanchored

Excuses

I just called to tell you
Sue’s transferring soon
To tell you she’ll be gone
I just called because I was hoping
You’d want me to come over
I just called to tell you
I made you a tape of songs
Because I don’t like you
And I am so moving on
I just called because
There is a movie I thought you’d like
It’s playing Friday night
“Sick and Twisted”- just your type
If you’re not busy, of course
I just called to tell you
I got better things to do
Because my hormones are going crazy
And my body is this mass of sweaty tension
I just called because I’m still alone
My best friend’s still not speaking to me
And I don’t know why
I just called because
You make me forget myself
Your one-sided conversations consume
the air so I no longer have to breath
I just called to tell you
I hate this war
I think we’re wrong
To tell you about the irony
I saw on the internet
“Make a pact against violence”
As we drop bombs on Kosovo
No double standard there
I just called to tell you
How drunk I wish I was
I watched Futurama again
Did you laugh at all the things
I imagine you’d be laughing at?
I just called- I know what you must think
Desperate girl- I must confess-
I was wrong about you & I being so right
I know you cannot be all the things I need
And that’s okay
I just called because I think
This friend thing is a joke
To tell you I don’t want you
Don’t want to touch your hands
Or your arms or your neck
I don’t want to kiss a man with facial hair
To feel your tongue behind those teeth- I don’t
I just called to say hi or hello
Or whatever excuse we use
To tell you about this new band
I heard his voice- makes me horny
To tell you I lied about how much I like yours
It’s only an eight-eight and a half at best
I just called because I was hoping
We’d really stay friends
And the time you need is finite
Enough to hang around for
To tell you how I prefer my space
Much better than change
Or laughing all the time or fucking
I prefer not to share or take any unnecessary risks
On a guy who can’t ever be serious
Or passionate or vulnerable
I just called to tell you
The checks in the mail
And how I wish I lived in New York
Where people run into people on the street
But we stay in out cars and shop
In grocery stores the size of malls
I just called to ask if you were bored
And wanted some company
I hate your answering machine

5-11-99
Originally published in Things Mean A Lot at the Time, 1999
Also appeared in Eunoia Review, 11-2-13

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Poetry · Unanchored

Hostage

At work he says to me, “How are you?
The last time we saw you, you ran out on
dinner. We all wondered where you went,
so we held your mom hostage.” He jokes,
all smiling up a storm like I’d have an
explanation for him like I forgot my oven
was on or left my wallet at home. But
I know I’ve seen him since that night
at a work meeting somewhere. That was
almost exactly five months ago and
I don’t bring those memories to work
with me. I don’t put the train-wreck
feeling on the player at school while
I got my authoritative hands on my hips.
So I change the subject. He doesn’t
know what an ass he’s being. Sometimes
they just don’t know.

4-19-13
Originally published in Eunoia Review, 11-4-13

2010s · Poetry · Unanchored

Night Birds

At night, late past
twelve, I hear them.

Loud chirping birds
clear like night sounds

unmuddied by day
droning. They are

unapologetic. Sharp-
shouting, “I am heard!”

No contest for their
platform, no shove-

pushing, first-in-line
claim-staking. They

are joyous bastards.

4-5-13
Originally published in Eunoia Review, 11-3-13