Question 1: The Normalized Vocabulary of a Poeta) What is sleep debt?
The cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep,
measured in the difference between hours slept
and hours of sleep needed and resulting in sleep
(I dare not use words like torpor
for fear you won't recall their meaning,
but redundancy and repetition are irksome
Is slumber an acceptable synonym?)
b) List three symptoms.
my poetry improves
as my mind muddles into that hazy dream state
I'm told comes with
drugs, but which (as any college student knows)
can be reached as easily after three nights
of homework projects. Next,
I wonder if this will sound as good tomorrow
as my head nods into
Last, the feeling of falling
snaps me awake, immobile
amidst the pillows on my couch, and I manage
a few more lines
before sleep claims me.
c) Explain your answer.
Explain your question.
Is this the indefinite 'you' or a personal address?
If I answer in rhyme, will you read it aloud,
of the stude
Exit, stage rightI ruined myself for relationships,
found the perfect partner only to let you go.
(Love makes you do stupid things,
Yet I will not give up so soon,
young and passionate, I seem
unable to resist
Try as I might, I cannot bring myself
to say we were not close to perfect. So, I wonder
what's the frequency of perfection
in my life?
Surely love is not a one-time hap,
the teenage romance that made
a certain actor more than just
If you should show up dead,
I'm afraid I won't be killing myself,
you were always Mercutio anyway.
The clown, the jokester, the philosopher,
the one who holds the whole long story
and its players all
The Way the Sun SetsThere is light on the horizon.
If I faced east, I might have been up all night (as I feel I have),
staring at the dim glow of a computer screen,
scrolling through pages of notes,
and flipping the sheets of crumpled past homework assignments,
seeking answers my tired brain could not comprehend.
If I faced east, dawn would soon be upon me,
sun rays lighting the chapel steeple
that glows now in the spotlights' beams
against the cloudless navy curtains of the sky.
If I faced east, my brain would be buzzing with coffee,
swarming with words and answers and questions
I cannot currently conceive.
The world comes alive at daybreak, even for the sleepless.
But I face west, toward the setting sun,
the last hints of cyan light tinting the sky.
I face a night of tired eyes and quick distractions
that go on for far too long,
a night of long questions
and longer answers
and moments spent dozing into my tea cup.
I face west, toward the end of the day,
waiting for dawn
to bring the end of the night.
Statement of My Affections (several weeks late)Dear former housemate and sweetheart (also former),
First off, I wanted to say I'm sorry,
sorry I never said goodbye,
sorry I kept you waiting for six days
to pick up your things
(as if that minor frustration might make you call the whole thing off),
sorry I still have that photo (you remember the one),
sandwiched between the fourth and fifth acts of Love's Labour's Lost,
waiting to be mailed, even though it makes no sense
to send it to you now.
I'm sorry I didn't fight harder, and I'm sorry you couldn't let me go.
I'm sorry I couldn't let you go.
I won't say I'm sorry it didn't work out, this new… endeavor of yours.
I'm also not sorry that I called you fourteen times after I heard.
(It would have been twenty, but my phone died at fourteen.)
Thank you for not pretending your voicemail broke
or that your number had changed.
Thank you for never treating me as anything less
Thank you for not telling me I'm crazy and obsessive.
I already know I'm c
AnticipationThe present is sitting there, staring at me, and I'm starting to sweat because I already know what it is because Grammy always gives the same gifts, and I can't possibly fit another clown in the box that used to be under my bed but isn't now, on account of the nightmares I had after that creepy doll attacked the kid in Paranormal Activity, which I wasn't supposed to have seen, and just thinking about it gives me the jitters, but my brother left the TV on and I was curious and learned my lesson because now I don't even want to know what's in this package, even though I do know because it's got to be another clown for my "collection" and there's no way I can even look at it long enough to get it up to the attic, which is all spooky and creaky with spiders and things and makes me shiver (especially this time of year, when there's no heating up there), so I just know I'm going to break down and cry like a baby right here, but Grammy is watching and I have to be brave even tho
The Sum of InfinityI don't know if I'll ever tell my children about you.
(I don't know if I'll even have descendants.)
A family was never on my to-do list,
until you came along.
You made me wonder if I wanted kids, just so I could say to them
"You know, the day your dad and I met…"
because I thought we could last forever,
and I'm still not sure if we have.
Our friendship endures, even as I fall asleep
picturing her arms around you,
and I wonder if you'll ever come back to me
but spend every day noticing the reasons I'm glad you left
and hoping you'll return.
Never intending to fall in love,
we were an item
before you knew my name.
She reclaimed you,
you still belong to me
by virtue of the ampersand connecting our names
in the mind of every person
who watched us walk,
tall & short,
monochrome & kaleidoscope,
yin & yang,
through the winding, leaf-littered pathways
that are our life.