Tag Archives: ten poems in twenty minutes

Poems from My Day (5-9)

Okay. We’re going back to ten poems in twenty minutes, because I can’t get anything out, and I need a structure. I’ll tell you what happened as it happened to me, as best I can, and do better tomorrow.

1:
We drove up an old logging road in her maroon, beat-up, ‘97 Jeep Grand Cherokee she’s named Gerdie.
I think she’s named it because she’s heard of other people naming their cars, not because the car has a name.
It’s the same with her kindness,
She’s nice because she’s supposed to be nice,
There is no goodness there.
That’s my least favorite kind of disingenuousness.
It might be because I’m from the Midwest, and that’s how I was raised,
I’m contrary on purpose, and stubborn and hospitable, and upfront.
So, for me, character flaws are cause enough to distrust someone.
They’re harder to change.
And I dislike her. She’ll only say thank you because it’s what’s expected.

2:
I have not come right out and asked her to drive me,
My pride wouldn’t allow it.
So, on her birthday, she asks if I want to go take pictures.
“Yes.” I say. “Always.” I say.
We drive up to a scenic overlook spot.
It’s almost like senior pictures, she says.
She brought a change of clothes.
She’s driving in her fancy new blue high heels.
She blow dried her hair.
I didn’t get asked to take her picture. I need prep time for portraits.
I do this for a living. I get paid for this. I don’t offer me for free.
If I give me and my camera, that’s one thing, if I take your picture because I want to, that’s one thing.
Why didn’t I bring it up?
I don’t stand for crap like this.
I don’t owe her.
But I do, because she drives me around, because I have no car.
And in her mind, I live in her house.
So I take bad photographs, because I’m blindsided, and didn’t have prep time.
And I’ll take the blame for that too.

3:
We could do something for your birthday tonight. It’s still early.
I suggest from the corner, hiding from the angry lady complaining about cramps and her friends.
“It’s 8:30.” That’s all the response I get from her.
How could I ever think of doing something so late.
There must be something wrong with me, like she’s always thought.

4:
Oh for goodness sake. Make a decision.
Pick one.
Both have good and bad sides, but are roughly equal.
Do one or the other and stop complaining.

5:
Quit talking work with me.
It’s Sunday.
And I know when my supervisor leaves, you’ll be my new boss.
But I don’t want you to be.
You like being in power, and that scares the hell out of me.
You’ll make a terrible leader.
But I can’t say that.
I’m going to go eat more asparagus from the grill over there.
And walk away from my future boss on a beach chair.

6:
What did you do for your twenty-first?
She doesn’t have many birthday parties.
I laugh.
Then laugh some more.
Good or bad, she asks.
I take another laugh.
Oh, it was bad.
I don’t even say, I’ll tell you about it when I’m very drunk.
Because I don’t think I will.
That terrible, awful, hell of a night.

7:
She doesn’t do black hair ties.
Who says that out loud?
I mean I can see someone saying it knowing they’re being ridiculous,
But to be so silly on purpose?

8:
I’m an asshole.
The maintenance lady’s son, wait they call them custodians,
The custodian’s son, who I think is not right in the head, helped me move boxes of books and shelves for the library.
The nicest anyone here has been to me is the mostly mute, slightly brain-damaged, ex-fisherman who didn’t have his overalls zipped up all the way.
But we got a lot done.
And I feel nervous around him.
And he walked me home, without permission.
I’m just making a face and wanting him to go away.
See line 1.
If I say I’m an asshole, it covers my sins, and I don’t have to work on fixing me.

9:
By the time I’m comfortable at a party,
Everyone’s leaving.
By the time I like someone,
They’re done.
I don’t have attachment issues,
Stop telling me that textbook from my early childhood psychology class.
Just because my parents divorced when I was a baby,
I don’t have abandonment issues. I’m perfectly fine.
It’s just that no one will ever love me.

10:
He’s coming over to make us fish.
King salmon.
He was supposed to come earlier last week. He kept forgetting.
The guy who made moves on me (and I let him)
Still “talks” to my roommate,
And didn’t respond to my last text.
Oh yeah,
This is gonna be great.
I think once you tell yourself to be cool, play it cool,
You’ve lost all your nerve.

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10 Poems in 20 Minutes (Feb. 8th)

I Wrote 10 Poems in 20 Minutes
Day February 8th

Poem 1:
What is this thing over there?
I didn’t not want it there.
It should not be.
This won’t end well.
This new dog that follows me.
I like her. I shouldn’t.
I do not want to like her.
She is not the kind of dog I like,
Not fuzzy, or warm.
She’s skiddish and jumpy and fast.
I’ll do something wrong,
I’ll hurt her on accident.
She won’t like me best,
She’ll like the people that feed her.
I’m not getting attached.

Poem 2:
I hadn’t realized I’d heard it all before.
I’ll get better,
He says.
It’ll just be like this for a little while.
Just wait.
I don’t believe him.
I don’t want to believe him.
Because I told myself,
Stop changing people.
So I take them as they are,
I only sigh,
And try and decide to be calm.

Poem 3:
He makes a joke.
He waits for the laugh.
He says it again,
Maybe you didn’t hear him.
If they laugh this time,
He’ll save it,
He’ll use it later,
Again.
Because he made them laugh.
They look at him,
If he makes them laugh.

Poem 4:
I don’t want a child.
I don’t want what’s inside my head passed on.
The suicidal nature running along my family branches,
Maybe those can stop with me.
But I’ll wait for someone to change my mind,
I’ll wait for the swaying argument,
I can’t defend.
Because I think,
My brain will have nothing to do with the matter.

Poem 5:
Find me somewhere to go,
Where I can just sit.
I can wrap my arms around my knees,
And be given my coffee in peace.
They’ll know my name.

Poem 6:
Talk to me please.
I want to tell you everything,
But you,
You won’t listen,
And you’ll shrug me off,
And not hear.
I need the next person I tell me to,
To remember,
Like the rest forgot to.

Poem 7:
No matter who I’m talking to,
I imagine it’s you.
And I feel safer.

Poem 8:
He’s going to be telling me
For the rest of my life,
The same things he says now,
Every week,
He’ll tell me how to improve.
And I can’t stop it.
I’ll always need to be fixed.

Poem 9:
They want their ashes –
Comingled –
After they die.
I couldn’t stop laughing.
What if someone’s femur is in there on accident too?

Poem 10:
I loved it when it rained.
Now it makes me sad.
When I don’t have a home,
I’ll get wet and cold,
And have nowhere to go.

10 Poems in 20 Minutes (1-24)

I tried to write a poem today, but couldn’t get started. So instead I gave myself a time limit. I’m not sure if it was worth it.

I Wrote 10 Poems in 20 Minutes
Day: January 24th

Poem 1:
They must not realize
They can’t.
Everyday an insult
A slight
Something that hurts somewhere.
I can get used it.
I don’t have a choice.

Poem 2:
I took down the Christmas decorations
Because I was told.
If you tell me,
I’ll do it.
But it will have no heart.
Only the work there.
All the work I do,
I tell myself to,
So there’s holiday missing somewhere else.

Poem 3:
He told me I was cute.
I don’t want to be,
I want beauty.
I settle
For this thing you give me
You give me the want
To put on makeup.
I want to change me for you.

Poem 4:
Only for winter
In my tired brain
It says:
Never leave here please
Stay where it’s warm
You don’t have to go
It’s all here
I can protect you here
It can’t go wrong.
But I have to get up to eat.

Poem 5:
Eating Thai
He says I like flied lice.
I look at his wife.
She says, it’s just silliness,
With her shoulders.
I stare at her.
She tells me to calm down
With a tug at a frown.
I eat my meal paid by her
And hate myself for not saying.

Poem 6:
If and when
I call you on the phone
Don’t give me advice
When I complain.
Just listen, please.
I know the things you say
Are right
True and proper.
But I don’t care.
I want to complain.
Listen to me whine.
Don’t make it better,
Don’t try.
Let me cry please
Without making it wrong.
By saying you shouldn’t
By improving me.

Poem 7:
My experience should mean little
To who I am.
My worth, I mean.
I may have lived under a great big house.
But you do not tease me for things I have not done.
You cannot know me,
Or find out why I did not do
What you seem fit to push me for.
You do not joke about my value that way.
Do not call me a child, baby, little girl,
Protected.
For you do not know, I haven’t told you,
And now never will.

Poem 8:
I want.
For sure I want.
Wanted hasn’t happened here with envy in so long.
Sit with me when I’m sick.
Please.
I feel bad alone.

Poem 9:
I didn’t do what I should have done
In your eyes.
I don’t know if I could see through your vision.
You don’t try to understand anyone:
Your way is best.
They should all see it my way.
It’s simple, and direct,
Don’t have to think about all that they seem to be saying.

Poem 10:
He said,
Thank you.
I said, no problem.
I hate you in my heart.
But I’m polite.
Never confuse kindness with polite.
One is curtsey
One doesn’t exist without motive.

10 Poems in 20 Minutes (November 23rd)

Ok, I’m just gonna go ahead and say it. I miss having a structure and a deadline to write poems. I really do. It’s like part of my day is missing. So I wrote more poems, off the top of my head. And I feel better about life.

I Wrote 10 Poems in 20 Minutes (7:09)
Day 11-23

Poem 1:
I’d like to think I’m good
A good person
Who does good
Well
Well, I mean, I’m not sure anymore
I can’t find a good judge
Someone who’ll fair judge me
And say,
Yes you do good.

Poem 2:
I spoke to my sister today
In a way I haven’t in a while
We talked of all we’d loved
All we’ve had
All she’s loved.
Because she has that in her
To love, this man
She loves him.
I’ve never had that in me,
I’m not sure, it’s even there.

Poem 3:
And I couldn’t speak
Everything I said got dissected
Or told that wasn’t right.
So I held my tongue
In the grip of polite.

Poem 4:
She says to us
You could have said it this way
And it wouldn’t have been mean.
So I write that down
In my playbook, my list
Of the proper phrases I can say to my mother
But she keeps editing
To say
I’m angry with what you’ve said
So I’ll keep picking at you
Cross that out and only ask for my love this way.

Poem 5:
Find me sunlight and
I’ll show you shadow.
I will.
Find me good
I’ll turn it wrong
Just by titling my head
And saying look how the sun shining on us
Misses all those over there.

Poem 6:
What do I say?
To my father when he asks where my job is.
How do I bargain with peace for stillness
So I don’t have to explain myself.

Poem 7:
I haven’t seen it
You know
I never have.
My face from your eyes.

Poem 8:
He said, let me get a job
And we can flirt with the idea
Of buying you a plane ticket out to see me
He priced them out for me.
I’ll probably hold grudges against him in time.
Just give me time
And I’ll find fault in the hundred percent.

Poem 9:
I sold something back
For less than I paid for it
So in effect
I spent forty dollars on my birthday and
Got hassle.

Poem 10:
I want to know what I’d look like skinny
If I was thin
How beautiful I would be
I can almost see my bones now
Without the added weight.
Beautiful in mirrors with pinched skin
And drawn on lines
With perfect shades,
We’re artists of our faces.

10 Poems in 20 Minutes (Day One Hundred)

This is the final day I’ll be writing ten poems in twenty minutes. From now on I’ll post the poems I write, but there won’t be a time limit or set number.

Thank you so much to those of you who’ve read my poems, because it means a lot to me.

For the final day of ten in twenty, I thought I’d write each poem about someone I know, I won’t dedicate the poem to them, because it may not be flattering, but I’ll try to keep it true. Here we go.

I Wrote 10 Poems in 20 Minutes
Day 100

Poem 1:
My Mother
You told me first,
I was beautiful.
You didn’t mean it from the mirror’s point of view,
You meant it because I was yours.
You had made me, and I look like you.
You love me for looking like you,
But not for who I am.

Poem 2:
My Father
He says, I see you all grown up
And I get flashes back to when you were little
He said, it’s hard to tell the difference, and remember.
But you’ve never remembered,
You treated me as background and expected.
I don’t think it’s purposeful, you talking down,
You do it to everyone who’s not as smart as you,
But the little girl in the white cherry dress who flounces,
She doesn’t have a chair in your mind
To sit and talk over the table.

Poem 3:
My Sister
She wants to make me perfect
Who she wanted herself to be
And mom reminded her, I’m the Mom here.
She was so proud I turned out well,
A nicer version of mini-me, you said.
But you taught me that people who love me
Tell me what to fix,
And disregard you if you make a mistake.
You taught me with your being,
That I should be better,
Unacceptable, as is.
That’s never gone away.

Poem 4:
My Brother
I don’t know you yet
Except that when I got back from school
You shoulders turned to boulders
And you couldn’t sing falsetto anymore.
You don’t seem to care much,
About grades, or propriety, family, or kindness,
I hope when you find something to care about
You can make something of yourself.
But the way you don’t seem to mind Mom’s insults
Makes me think you’ll be happier than us all
For living through the torment of being alone in the house.

Poem 5:
My Step-Father
I look at you and sneer.
I don’t remember why I feel revulsion anymore,
But it’s there unerring and unending.
You never placed yourself in another’s position,
Never thought, if I do this, she’ll feel this,
Or if I say this, x will happen.
There’s one good thing that comes from your being in the house,
Always angry, fuming, smoking, not drinking beers,
I can read a temper from across the room
I easily pick out who can hurt me from expressions alone,
I have you to thank for that.

Poem 6:
My Friend A—
I thought you were so strange
But you taught me that if you think someone’s strange
You’re in the wrong.
Your mind is faster than mine,
But not nearly as funny.
I’ve never gotten tired of you,
The only thing I fear when I’m talking to you
Is that I’ll have to leave soon.
You are light.

Poem 7:
My Friend B—
Someone once accidentally insulted you
While I was standing there holding grape soda
And you looked right at them,
Said, “what do you mean.”
You stood there, with brown ringlet hair
And questioned them until it was clear what they had done,
What you felt,
And what they meant.
That’s a power few women have.
I salute you for it.
You have no sense of the gray
You cannot say,
Perhaps.
You’ve never thought
To say
That’s beautiful,
I see your beauty. To the painting on the wall.

Poem 8:
My friend C—
I like you because you talk to me
Tease me,
Make me see myself as ridiculous,
And can photoshop cupcakes into robot’s hands faster than I can.
I like you because I can never know for sure
I don’t like you
Because you keep yourself so far away.

Poem 9:
To My Dead Dog
I never really liked you, you know,
I can talk to her because she’s dead,
But we understood each other
Understanding is a better kind of magic than love
It kept us going
When you couldn’t get up the stairs, or out the door
When you howled in pain from the cancer in your spine,
When you lost control of your back leg,
I brought you food and water dishes,
Petted your graying beige fur
And I sand to you all the songs in the world.

Poem 10:
To Me
I don’t know what it is you’re doing.
There’s so much more you should be
Could be
Would be
If you weren’t so damn scared.
But that’s fine,
Stay in your house,
Cover yourself in quilts of blue flowers
Forget all you might have done,
If you could have just.

10 Poems in 20 Minutes (Day Ninety-Nine)

Oh, of course, on the second to last day of me posting ten poems in twenty minutes for one hundred days, my internet goes out! I wrote these yesterday, but can only just now post them. Bah!

I Wrote 10 Poems in 20 Minutes
Day 99

Poem 1:
After I drink wine
My cheeks go all red
And my hands seem to twitch on their own.
This I do no like.
Those are my hands, I tell them what to do.
They should stay put, if I want them to stay put.
Instead of flipping about.
I don’t like this loss of control.

Poem 2:
If I have a house of my own
And they come to visit
On my land in my place
I think I’ll finally yell
Those who I hold no strings to,
I’ll get to say no,
You may not speak to me like that
Without hint of reprobation,
Because it’s my house.

Poem 3:
Perhaps she doesn’t notice.
That she’s talked the whole way home,
And I’ve only said one word responses
Looking away.
Maybe she thinks I will tell her this,
But I doubt she thinks of me at all
Except as a bit of cloth in a seat
Who absorbs information.

Poem 4:
She holds back information
She says to be kind,
She doesn’t want to hurt us.
I think she doesn’t want to talk to us
After she tells us,
She doesn’t want to be a messenger.

Poem 5:
My sister had to tell my mother
She screwed up with me,
She said she felt really bad.
She didn’t know how to properly apologize
And she can’t say she won’t do it again
Because she will
Because she doesn’t think
When all she does is for herself.

Poem 6:
It won’t listen
The part of my head that says I like him,
You shouldn’t
There’s nothing there and no good reason.
It will only end poorly.
But it hasn’t happened yet
So I get to dream for a minute,
Oh, of all the beautiful dreams,
That can’t yet be proven false.
Dreaming backwards is regret,
Either way, I’ll still think on it.

Poem 7:
She sat with her dye job pink hair starting to fade back to bleach
And I thought, she looks like a bull dog
All the features scrunched up
And she doesn’t have a neck
And she’s shapes like a square.
I liker her for it.
That she doesn’t seem ashamed.

Poem 8:
I hate it here.
I have to ask for money, but don’t because I don’t spend,
Because I have no friends,
And I’m too shy to make new ones,
So I stay in my room
And hate myself for it,
And hate this place,
And this pretend freedom
Of, oh do what you want, but you’ll be watched,
That comes with living again with parents.

Poem 9:
Three lamps stand on my dresser
Two don’t have shades,
The one works,
Because I live out of boxes,
My mother’s boxes,
And pick clothes out of what I can see,
What I find in my boxes,
My packed life from before I became,
Oh such a disappointment.

Poem 10:
I understand you now,
Come back and talk to me,
We can party
I will love and dance
And I will have a chance to smile again.

10 Poems in 20 Minutes (Day Ninety-Eight)

I Wrote 10 Poems in 20 Minutes
Day 98

Poem 1:
We drove in her car
Because she wanted to be nice
I said I like this song on the radio
To say something other than nothing
And she said, I don’t like that blue-eyed soul,
To her daughter, sitting next to her,
Staring at her with blue eyes,
She said, I only like real soul,
Soul music.
“I didn’t mean that as a slam,
Well it came out as a slam but I didn’t mean it that way.”
I laughed.

Poem 2:
Veterans day I kept my mouth held in place
I shoved it shut with patriotism
I bit my tongue so hard I showed stars
Because I can’t tell the room full of people who fought
For duty, honor, pieces of paper,
That they’re wrong
I’m outnumbered,
Not that brave,
And in the eyes of the bearded, torn jean hem, proud men,
I’m a girl who’s seen nothing.

Poem 3:
I write in the margins of my pages
I love you I love you I love you
So if someone reads me later,
After I’ve become famous, wealthy, and glamorous
They’ll know I was just like them once.
No, that’s not true.
I write it to say I love you to someone
That won’t hurt me back,
I say I love you to the recyclers who pick up my papers
After it fell off my desk.
I say I love you to no one,
Because I crumple up whatever I wrote.

Poem 4:
Dear Wes,
I’m sorry I never got the chance to be your friend
We could have been good
We laughed the same,
And you were so tall.
But I didn’t know how to say to you
Be my friend,
So I kept quiet
Silly and quiet,
And thought what great goofy hair,
As I watched you lope around after graduation.

Poem 5:
Ask me once, then leave me alone
So we can do anything but
Have to listen to how awful and negligent I’ve been
With my time and with my great gifts,
You could have at least picked up a summer job
For the cash.
I could have, but I didn’t,
And I’m sorry.

Poem 6:
I travel to my father’s house alone
For Thanksgiving, for the holiday.
I’d never thought this before, but now I have,
If it’s bad I’ll just leave.
I can stay in my car or with friends, for just one night,
No one will mind, and
My father will never tell my mother,
I have a way out,
As I never did as a child,
A way out, cold.
Would that there were cars and roads for all my problems,
I’d be gone.

Poem 7:
I forgot what the sun looked like
For about a month there
And I realized I hadn’t looked beyond a window in years.
So I stepped out from my work,
And thought, hey, look at this,
It’s still cloudy, I haven’t missed a thing,
So I went back inside,
Bunkered down,
Back to work.

Poem 8:
My dad would offer to play games with me
When my sister went to her room,
But I wanted to play with three
Not just Dad.
Even though she regretted it later in life,
How much more time I spent with him,
While she had her books.

Poem 9:
How had he forgotten our awful vacation
Full of yelling
And a man unexpectedly quitting smoking
A teenage girl who knew better
And the younger brother who never stopped crying,
Oh that’s why he doesn’t remember,
Mom took him away, because he was crying,
Away from the yelling.

Poem 10:
I’ll cry soon, totally lose it
And just burst out, with all the pent up rage
And anger, and hate, and slights
The small bitterness done me everyday
Each different way she’s made me feel small,
They’ll all come out,
But probably on myself.