This Poem Has No Beat

My heart is full of poetry,
you told me once, in some
writers’ workshop.¬†If I cut
my breast, my blood would
pool in the shapes of letters,
the forms of lines. You’d find
my dried-up body and verses
would have formed all around me.

When you did die, you hadn’t
lost a drop of blood. You didn’t
have a cut, and I didn’t find you
dead. I never saw you dead
because your casket door was
locked, and no one even uttered
a rhyme at your wake, your funeral,
or your graveside.

I do, sometimes, put my hand
across my chest and feel a rhythm,
buh-dum buh-dum buh-dum, and I
ignore it. This poem has no rhythm,
no beat. I shed no blood and I bare
no scars, like you.

Delivery Status Notification (Failure)

I sent you my phone number over the prison
email service and you never called me.

You must have run out of quarters. You could
have used nickels, you know, those pay phones
take them, too. So you could have always called.

I was going to congratulate you on beating
the rap and leaving yourself with just one life
sentence. I was going to congratulate you
on trying to beat the rap and appeal your one
life sentence. That showed commitment. That
showed you were committed on getting your
name clear, getting the names of those you
said you never killed cleared.

Now, all I want to say is I’m glad you ran out
of quarters. I’m glad you forgot about nickels.

Desdemona at Columbine (It Is Too Late)

Eric: Get up!
Desdemona: Who’s there? Othello?
Dylan: GET UP!
Eric: Stand up right now or we’ll blow your fucking heads off!
Desdemona: Alas, my lord, what do you mean by that?
Dylan: Fine, I’ll start shooting then…
Desdemona: Talk you of killing?
Dylan: Woohoo!
Desdemona: Then heaven
Have mercy on me!
Eric: Do you believe in god?
Desdemona: Ay, my lord.
Dylan: Why?
Desdemona: Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip?
Some bloody passion shakes your very frame:
These are portents; but yet I hope, I hope,
They do not point on me.
Eric: God is gay.


As I was waiting for my flight home,
a girl and her mother stepped off their
plane and into the terminal. The girl
stretched her arms out in front of her face
as far as she could, then cried out, “We’re
in another airport!”

Her mother took her left hand and said,
“Where do you think planes went,
to our house?” “Yes!” the girl proclaimed.
She waved her right hand over her head.

“No,” her mother said, and she led her daughter
away from the gate and toward the baggage
claim. The girl continued to wave with her
right hand, her palm straining toward the sky.
I waved to her, but she was walking too
far ahead and looking far too high to see me.


The only way he said his name
was with a smile. When he
introduced himself to me, he
smiled, and it took me a moment
to remember he had said his name
in a whisper.

I had to lean close and ask him
for his name one more time, and he
breathed in with a grin across his face,
as though I had just asked him some
stupid question, and he could only greet
it with a stupid question of his own.