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Excuse Poem

Delinquent in writing your mother, boyfriend, or parole officer? How about sending them a poem as a way of making amends?

From issue 36, Oliver De La Paz’s wonderful explanation as to why the letter has yet to arrive.

Excuse Poem

I was planning on writing you but

the hawthorns were like blown fuses.

The energy in the room was a bad kite

and the clock around my neck chimed

as I fingered the Kmart blouses.

Clothespins held me as a call

from a conch shell holds a ship.

I was a madman, dressed to go out,

but the houseplants were on fire.

The salmon were lustrous like diamonds

in the gutter and I had to cradle each one.

I was drunk on crème de menthe

and roomfuls of my furniture shadowed

my every move. Oh sad evening,

the meatpacking trucks were at my door!

The books were slapping like cowboys

in their leather chaps! I was hot

as six reading lamps. I was sad and dirty

like my big-haired rock loves. Breath,

oh breath, I was kept alive like a queen

on horseback. I was floured

and I was finched. I was zephyred, alas,

blown back to Hellenic ruin.

Oliver de la Paz is the author of three collections of poetry. Names Above Houses , Furious Lullaby , and Requiem for the Orchard, winner of the Akron Prize for poetry chosen by Martìn Espada. He teaches at Western Washington University.


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Posted in From The Vault, Poetry

Comments: 1

(1) Comment

  1. Diyona Joe says:

    Great poem on oliver ….Nice

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