September 26, 2009

average household

now calling all residents
to join the main dining room
for a special evening
and celebration

we are now officialy plummeting
into the depths of financial hell
surely we must have become
an average household

this is what's left
out of our well-off existence:
and foreclosure

we will feast in unpaid bills
mom will pawn her latest tiffany's
silver acquisitions
and buy frozen burgers at the latino grocery

me, what am i expected to do?
surrender hope
beg for freedom
turn into melting ice

emily thompson (New York, NY, 1990)

September 23, 2009

lazy, procrastinating young poets

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Young American Poets
A blog devoted to poetry and short stories

September 22, 2009

texting in tears

I cut my hair real short just because I had to
If I wanted to do this factory thing
So now they can come and probe my poverty
With their golden cane and useless forms

And all I care about is a neverending commute
Lags between dead zones when you try reaching out in 64 characters
Friends get married even when they can't afford it
I lament not being able to buy the things I want

Forever scared at the idea of child rearing
Puddle hopping on a sunny winter day
Reality check by the minute, absolut divorce between
Expectations and the financial roller coaster of low income

An expert scissor toting discount coupon scanner
Scalping tickets, pawning grandmother's earrings yet losing money
A closeted angry, frustrated being
Not a person anymore but an employee

can't talk right now
call me later, will you?

molly church (Washington, DC, 1979)

September 18, 2009

you and me

I stood in line at 7-Eleven
after my nightly workout
to buy a quart of milk,
because osteoporosis isn't sexy.
And because I still believe
it will do my thirty-something year-old body
some good.

Carefree college dude in front of me,
whose mondo snug tee
said I ♥ MILFS,
and barely covered
his corpulent Heineken-bolstered belly,
asked the cliché Calcutta clerk
if he could get him
an obscure brand of cigarettes;
the clerk had to be
guided three times
before he got it right.

"Dhis one?"
"Dhis one?"
"Dhis one?"

I walked out,
envying frat boy and his life,
remembering when…
guzzling my milk.

Carefree college dude
sat down on his beach cruiser,
coolly tapping his sandal to the ground
puffing away
looking up at stars
that weren't there.

I chugged quickly,
staring at him until he looked at me,
Shaking his head in dismay as if to say,
"Hey. My life's not any easier Bro..."

daniel romo (Grants Pass, OR, 1973)

September 16, 2009

slash youngpoets

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Young American Poets
A blog devoted to poetry and short stories

September 15, 2009

old e-mail found in trash folder

Hey, how are you
I know we haven't talked or e-mailed for a while now
I know it is most likely
You want it to stay that way

I am writing to you because I feel
(Or have felt for some time)
That I wanted to know about you
What you are up to

I just don't mean to bother you in any way
But you once wrote to me:
I'd like to be your friend, and for you to be mine
I definitely want to be your friend

It sucks to not be liked by people like you
It sucks to be an ugly memory

Deleted messages are moved to the Trash folder temporarily,
Where they are subject to deletion at anytime

arby fox (Richmond, VA, 1978)

September 9, 2009

chunky bits

crumbling the way the cookie does
in cherished chimes and chalk fries
for afterhours, chattering

bathed in chili fire from the
changing shades of charcoal amber
chocolate, lingerings on the aftermath

clasp by overheated moans and road rumble,
laying on the backseat chock-full,
chunky bits of chips ahoy churned and spread


there laid the juicy chunks, chunky bits
of chocolate pleasure rolling into cleavage,
tickling, chaste and chemical

riding choir girls to the verge, caressing
collar bones and choosing the now over the latter
chaps, chasing crystal pleasures

challenging the sudden change of terms
from children to young men and women
chuckling, chilled to the bones and lacking

chinese wisdom and magic, in need of a charger,
chainsawed, a dead chapter gone, chilled and
curious enough to choke on fear


jordan rial (San Francisco, CA, 1983)

September 8, 2009


watch out and pray as I prey
ice cold but sweet as a magpie
what is a cluster within a mud pile?
do without, deploy, start all over again
shoot the stars and shoot your enemies
do something

how could someone be so flawed?
why isn't there product recall for people like you
just like they do with toys, pills

sad, lame and pathetic junkster
drinking somebody else's milk
sweet stolen milk

this being the case
I can't think of anything but cantankerous cranks
heavy metal scything, sugar pods,
bolts and guts, a tiny little hole
the infamous glaze, the red stare

I shout disembowelment, impalement
medieval tactics for your impoverished XXI century ethics
brutal force to arrest your carnal pillage
not hatred but mere sense of old-fashioned justice

you break, you pay
guts and all are now over the table
the dripping meadows and swinging shadows
of what could be the spleen, a kidney here,
some fat tissue there, the bloody landscape
of a not so delicate cross section
performed in a miscalculated slash from meat thirsty shredders
steaming and pumping still
a crimson tide and awful smell
and you won't shut up

left me with this as my only option
and as I slowly shove a little more I see tears
now that's what I call empathy
just like our counselor advised

hope you don't mind I took the poetic license
and read between the lines:

beatrice kaplan (Pembroke, NH, 1985)

September 4, 2009

private school ethics and the pains of being well hung

I was raised in a strict British Catholic private school
My parents were average income
But had some sort of higher education
So they decided they'd sacrifice dinners at fancy restaurants
Overseas vacations and a second car
For us
To go there

A big sacrifice, my dad always reminded me
When he wasn't satisfied with my unsatisfactory grades
Mom just stood silent

So there we were
My sister and I
Every morning
In our neat perfect uniforms
Waiting for the school bus to pick us up
Mom was delighted as she watched from the window
As she got ready for work too

Every morning Ms. Gordon would call the roll
Ms. Whitaker terrorized restless kids like myself
I remember her grabbing my arm and dragging me across the classroom
It hurt all day

Then we had Mr. Maggi, who disciplined us with his loud, grave voice
You are unbearable, he shouted at the class once
And we just stood silent

This upbringing made me different from other people I've met
But then your life changes
When a girl tells you she is amazed by your endowment
It's massive, she said, lovingly holding it in her hands
And gave me the jerk-off of my life
Nothing else matters then

You just forget the scolding
The sacrifice
The shouting
The silence

It's massive
A huge pain
But then again
Nothing else matters

jeff carter (Manchester, NH, 1976)

September 3, 2009

young poets and greatness

"A total networker careerist can be a great or lousy poet. So can a hermit in a cave. Feeble poetic ambition probably starts before careers begin. Beginning poets aren't, I think, cynical in their stylistic choices. If anything they're too earnestly docile. Young poets probably shouldn't aim explicitly for greatness. Life is stressful enough without that kind of pressure. But when the only aim is getting an A+ in reproducing teachers' revolutions, it's unlikely to lead anywhere but mediocrity."

daisy fried (Ithaca, NY, 1967), as quoted in Ambition and Greatness, a round-table discussion with Adam Kirsch, Thomas Sayers Ellis and Jeredith Merrin. The exchange was published in 2005 by Poetry magazine.

Further reading:

Poetry and Ambition, by Donald Hall (

Breakfast Served Any Time All Day: Essays on Poetry New and Selected, by Donald Hall (Google Books)

The Great(ness) Game, by David Orr (The New York Times)

Responding to Poetry Drivel In The New York Times, by Dan Schneider (Cosmoetica)

Daisy Fried at Poetry magazine

September 1, 2009


As I stare at Chris Hansen
from Dateline NBC
I know I won't be able
to explain
how Jenny316
looks just like
my first girlfriend
that I know
her breasts will feel
like soft apples
that I know
how she'll close her eyes
and arch her back
as I unbutton her jeans

jessie carty (Portsmouth, VA, 1975)