week of March 9 - March 15, 2002
Todd Heldt and Dave Gitomer
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My poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in sournals as Nightsun, Borderlands, Westview, Birmingham Poetry Review, and Westview. I have a BA in English literature from the University of North Texas. While there, Scott Cairns interested me in writing poetry. Currently, I am attending graduate school in literature at Texas Tech, where I am continuing my practice at verse under the guidance of Bill Wenthe. I also serve as the poetry editor of The Spiritual Onion. I am 26 years old.
Visit Todd's website and check out his book Nobody's Dead Here but Us by clicking here: http://heldt.tripod.com/book.html
The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by Todd Heldt and may not be distributed or reprinted in any manner whatsover without written permission from the author.
The Last Letter Between Lovers
Did I tell you about the ice cream?
Homemade at my grandparents, farm,
and cooler than water in a drought?
I followed the creek bed, next day,
dry as a lizard's belly for miles.
The dog lagged, slunk home
for a drink. But I found mud, even water.
Green vines were boas, squeezing
everything they could. I thought,
We need more than dirt:
Two people constructing a home
must know which stones the other lays.
And there should be wood for a fire,
a bed to sink into, and flannel sheets.
I shoved a dead stick into the bank,
wrote your name, and walked back,
thinking rain would eventually wash it away.
Back at the house, I drank a glass of water,
then Grandmother scooped me
a bowl of ice cream too full to finish.
I needed to share with someone,
for fear of dying in a dry creekbed,
or a house I'd built by myself.
On Stabbing a Man and Being a Good Listener
I stabbed a man once, but not without reason.
He found me sitting, talking with his wife
on the hood of my car. Mostly she talked
about him and I listened. I was a good listener,
she said, I didn't interrupt. When he found us
he yelled; she yelled. She wasn't a good listener.
He broke his beer bottle, held the neck
in his hand, a bouquet of jagged petals.
I pulled a knife, planted my feet.
How it happened isn't really important:
with a raw hole in his stomach, he pitched forward,
wrapped his arms around my waist.
Not much happened after that. He eventually let go.
His wife cradled his head, glared hard at me.
He said, I love you. I love you.
Every time I looked back
he would be saying those words,
but she never took her eyes off me.
To Sleep Alone
Stuck to the sheets with sweat,
and looking outside my window,
I watched a car wrap around a tree.
All night lights flashed
across my walls, danced
a stranger to my bed:
shadows rolled over me,
stroked my face with fluid fingers.
One of the clean-up crew
said the woman driving was lucky
she was drunk. I wished
I were one of the paramedics,
touching her face like ice,
afraid it would melt in my palms,
or one of the policemen--
anything to bring me closer.
Someone told me sleeping alone
is a dress rehearsal for dying.
So I claimed her as my own.
She became my mother,
my lover, my twin. I lay down
curled in her hair, arms
wrapped around a pillow.
Later, I heard she lived,
and slept that night in a clean,
The Woman Above Me
She is the braid of two strangers
kissing under the hotel sign,
a red pulse beating on my blinds,
ankle bells ringing on my ceiling,
and the twirl of a glass
tossed into the fireplace.
I find her face at my window,
her arms in empty shirts hanging
from my closet door. I steal her body
with my eyes and leave myself
on my stomach as she slides me
into the world of card tricks and love.
Last night I heard her playing violin
in the room above mine, so close,
I thought, the strings were my own.
Generations of gatti nestle columns
of the Colosseum, willing to starve--
a good cat can thrive on nothing but night.
Busted saints ignore the old woman
calling strays. She wiles them to her car
with mackerel and cod, but the cats will not accept
her ride. I imagine she tries daily, with failure,
and goes home to a lonely supper, a party of one.
And I wonder if she's talking to me, asking me over
for gelati, or wanting to teach me Italian,
so we could talk about anything, even the weather.
My wife is packed in the hotel room, leaving me
a photo album of blank pages,
so I want the old lady to catch that Tabby on the wall
and feed him days of fish and milk.
If I spoke the language we would make a plan to catch him.
But I don't, so I ask another tourist to take my picture.
When I turn around again, the old lady is waddling
back to her car, the Tabby has disappeared,
and a fish head stares up at me, empty.
In my scrapbook will be my face in front of that wall.
On the next page will be my face in front of something else.
When the book is closed, pages pressed tight, I will kiss myself.
Dave Gitomer lives in Bay Shore, New York and runs the ThoughMonkeys web sites.
The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by Dave Gitomer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any manner whatsover without written permission from the author.
Timeless Void, Solidifies
turn back the clock,
spin rounds, reverse polarity.
regenerate calendar pages,
months and years.
this errant time,
nebulous to the touch,
impossible to sense,
yet potent shaman,
of all ills.
The Hudson River
under the bridge,
the waters flow to the sea,
bringing out the accumulations,
cleansing the urban soul,
of the vibrant city.
flowing, ebbing, swallowing.
absorbs left bank, right bank,
returning home to the ocean,
After the Rainstorms
finally it stopped raining,
as the deluge ceased at last.
the dog turned anxious, we needed
to go out,
three days, off was way too much,
I started to think. I began to know.
I was losing...no, not that. I had
I must walk in the fog. the drive
was uneventful, but spooky, as dense
mists, turned all gray and wet.
reappearing, no form, or substance,
until immediately up close, the construction
on the bridge continued, mainly detected
the sounds of the machines, ripping the
blocks of what used to be a roadway. at last,
the parking lot, luckily the weather was warm
among the marsh, lurked deer. whose big brown
eyes shone as marbles, with white cotton tails,
bounding, when the dog noticed them, hard for
to detect them in the wet. profound silence
licked the drizzle, and the search beacon of
the lighthouse was invisible till way close.
dense fog, great clarity.