Archive for the My Poetry Category

Dance

Posted in Memoir, My Poetry with tags , , , , on September 3, 2017 by sethdellinger

In all these tiny useless shops, with all this
torn and tattered furniture and too-small coats and
half-working vacuum cleaners, I have never come across
a velvety orangeish curtain like the one we hung
in the living room on Big Spring Avenue; it was
wide and garish like a Lady Pope’s vestments
and it kept the heat from pouring down between the
hardwood floor slats into the musty dirt basement;
likewise, in none of these big city shops have I ever
danced around with a cocker spaniel like I did
with ours–Cocoa–one bright Saturday morning
when I was all alone with her.  I did the funny dance I
only ever did with Cocoa, one hand in my armpit,
jumping on one foot, the sound of my skin half-drum,
half-fart, the world at last and for a moment a perfect
sun-filled room, a dappled meadow, Cocoa just
staring with all-black eyes, shimmying just to
get out of my way, me whirling and singing a song
I can’t recall, then laughing and laughing in the
sun beaming through the windows, falling down
with her, as if we were dying, as if we could
never stop–in 1984, in Newville Pennsylvania–
beautiful strange small-town Newville,
home of Laughlin Mill and the Bulldogs–
a hundred miles and thirty years away from
this dingy city thrift store I stand in, remembering
the orangey curtain and the drafty floors and the
sweet temperamental dog so confused with her
round voids of eyes, she’s gone now, so gone even
her dust is gone, oh giant universe, oh wild universe!

Anyone Other Than Me

Posted in My Poetry with tags , , , on August 18, 2017 by sethdellinger

You have rescued me from a trail of tears.
In a world of fear
did you know that I’d be there?
Every time I speak your name
there’s a shiver that holds me close;
from a pin prick famous place
where forever forgets what we should know.
Did you think it would be anyone other than me, dear?
You’ve outlasted all my friends.
I buried roots and you dig them up
and you share with me my place.
A perfect circle– never give it up.
Did you think it would be anyone other than me, dear?
Empty bottles and hallway shoes;
you whisper close to my body hush.
‘Cause if every word could change my face
not half as much as I need your touch,
did you think it would be anyone other than me, dear?

Eternal Life

Posted in My Poetry with tags , , on April 3, 2017 by sethdellinger

Night.  Street.  Lamp.  Stop sign.
You might live a hundred years and still
this will be outside your window,
the dim and jaundiced light,
the silence, the stillness, the porches.

You’ll die and still it will persist,
you’ll be reborn and fly to the window,
the yellow light, the completeness of the light,
the street a frozen grinning canal.
Night.  Street.  Lamp.  Stop sign.

You Aint Free

Posted in My Poetry with tags on March 31, 2017 by sethdellinger

I was sittin’ down in a greasy diner
thinkin’ ’bout eatin’ the food I bought
(yes, I bought).
The meals were piled ten feet high.
But I just couldn’t wait for the bill to arrive!
Well, man, you can have anything you want,
but you know there’s gonna be a cost.
No use gettin’ on your knees.
Somebody’s gotta mop these floors
and get these dishes clean–
but don’t look at me!
‘Cause you aint free.

Well I was sittin’ on a bench on Market Square.
I was sittin’ watchin’ the cars drive by.
I was watchin’ them put their break lights on,
smellin’ the fumes made by their gas,
the radios blastin’ tunes and talks,
the lease agreement tucked in the glovebox.
Well girl, you can drive anywhere you want,
but you know there’s gonna be a cost.
Somebody’s gotta keep the system greased–
but don’t look at me!
‘Cause you aint free.

Observations From a Made-Up Climb in the Himalaya

Posted in My Poetry with tags , on February 18, 2017 by sethdellinger

So, after all this time,
these are the Himalayas.
I have read so much about you
but never thought I’d stand here,
high inside your secrets,
your startling ripped canvas of sky,
holes punches in the sea of clouds.
Everything feels muted.
A white muting,
thrust up into nothingness.

Where is your citizen, your Yeti?
Yeti, down there we’ve got Friday,
and alphabets, and packaged bread.
Roses of deep red,
and shiny storefront windows.

Yeti, crime is not all
we do down there.
Yeti, there is beauty out of the wind,
out of the cold howling.

Yeti, we’ve got Shostakovitch,
and Scrabble, and canned pears.
At nightfall, we turn on lights, Yeti.

Up here, it’s neither moon nor earth.
Tears freeze.  There’s nowhere to turn.
It is a placidness beyond pain,
acute solitude.

Yeti, down there we have found a way to hope.
You could watch us as we birth children
among our glass ruins.
We master the art of forgetting.

Oh I would stay if I could, Yeti,
resident of the Himalaya,
never turning on lights at night
inside your four-walled avalanche
stomping on the everlasting snow
waiting for nothing.

I Know the Place

Posted in My Poetry with tags on February 6, 2017 by sethdellinger

I know the place.
It is true.
Everything we do
connects the space
between death and me
and you.

If My Feet Were Spears

Posted in My Poetry, Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 29, 2016 by sethdellinger

The urge is strong to be a tiny bird
upon a tiny limb, maybe
a LeConte’s Sparrow
standing on its spidery feet,
instead of a rotund guy who falls
with a resounding thump,
who bruises, who scrapes on sidewalks
and car doors,
who sinks in river mud
to the waist.
If my feet were spears
I’d sink all the way through the mud
into one of the tumultuous underground rivers
that are everywhere,
earthborn by the black current.
When a child I thought I’d die in my twenties
like some of the greatest poets
but now at thirty-eight I see this hasn’t happened.
Still, I am gentle with my poems and birds.
Birds are poems I haven’t caught yet.

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