Archive for the My Poetry Category

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.


Posted in My Poetry, Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 30, 2016 by sethdellinger

The minister in silent thought
among the stone markers
on the misty morning
frowns his face,
surveys the flock.

Three years, four years,
I know you still.

Shuffling gently now down
the weedgrown path
his moving hand brushes
the obelisks, the mausoleums,
the taller-than-they-weres.

Ten years, twelve years,
have you found yet a home?

Pausing at the gate
turning ‘round,
the elms at the edge of the clearing
shimmer with Northern wind,
the load of winter
promised the branches.

Twenty-five years,
I wait still to join you.

Her stone is tilted to a wavering angle,
watersluiced and mosswearing.
The world recedes in the blackness of memory.

In Flemington

Posted in My Poetry, real life with tags , , on April 3, 2016 by sethdellinger

When I moved to New Jersey to live with my mother on April 3rd, 2003 to begin my sobriety, immediately a lot began waking up in me–physically and emotionally I finally began to move forward and move past the stilted 17-year-old that was inhabiting my 25-year-old body.  But I also began awakening to the world of art, media and culture.  I devoured books, movies and magazines–anything that was within arms’ reach.  I had been writing poetry for many years before I got sober–most of it truly terrible.  Now that my mind was waking up to the actual artistry of poetry (I was also ravenously reading poetry written by others at this time) I quickly began to form my own unique poetic voice; if I can take a moment to toot my own horn here, crafting a unique poetic voice is not easy and most people don’t really do it, but for about four years I wrote in a style that (I believe) I owned all to myself.  Now, I wrote some pretty good poems after those four years and will still occasionally crank out a humdinger, but not in Early Sobriety Seth Dellinger voice–I couldn’t write in it if my life depended on it anymore.  It’s a conversational, almost flippant tone with an underlying promise of elemental discovery (and 75% free verse, but I did dabble in forms).  Here is one of my favorites from that era, called “In Flemington”, almost certainly written before I even had 90 days of sobriety.  My mother lived in a little town called Neshanic Station, but it was near the bigger town of Flemington.  I would occasionally drive my car into Flemington and walk around, astounded by being sober and alive and possessing free will.


In Flemington

On the corner at a small shop I buy a coffee
and take it outside with me.
In the air it steams to cool,
in communion with the breeze.
Strolling east, the cars and bicycles
are sparse today, even birds are few,
this close to downtown.  Passing the laundromat,
sweet, pungent softener assaults the nostrils
and the rumble of coin-op dryers is melancholy and promising.
Turning left onto Reaville Avenue a small boy
eight years old if a day
sits on the curb just sitting there
drying his hair in the sun like the sidewalk
and I almost say hi to him.
The coffee cools quickly in the chill afternoon,
I almost turn back to buy another,
but think better of the three dollars I have left.
I sidle into a quaint bookstore to gape at magazines,
the lives of others and kitchen equipment
glossy and flaxen, and the portly
latina by the register eyes me
and she is beautiful in that way
only latinas and llamas can be beautiful:
using solely the eyes.
Asking her if there is a restroom, she grudgingly gives me a key
knotted to a large wooden block
as if this were an interstate filling station,
and points me to the back corner,
but the door is open when I get there.
Safely locked inside, my pants stay buttoned
and I use only the mirror, studying my lines,
the old souvenir red blotches, reminding me
of lives and moments, other bookstores
or towns; some oversize pores poke peskily
into view begging for me to wash my face more often,
but not right now, not now, a time and place for everything.
Giving the key back to the girl, I emerge onto Main Street
and suck deep the stunningly new air,
amazed by the realization that you are somewhere far away
occupying real space
breathing just like me
and smiling right this instant,
your eyes gleaming like little coins.

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