The good people over at Poetry Thursday have announced a theme for the week: hungry for poetry. I used to have a good deal of hunger for the stuff, but for the past few years I have feasted mostly on fiction. Against all good sense and in honor of this week's theme, I offer two takes on the subject.
Ode to his Girlfriend, the Poet
When you wiped the counters
and caught in your hand the crumbs
you didn’t take them to
the trashcan but made a fist.
You dropped breadcrumbs near the
stairwell and piled cabbage leaf
tips beneath the bathroom
mirror. Around your bed you
spread the unused bits of
rosemary and tomato.
After you had filled the
foyer with sufficient leek
and artichoke parts you
fled on a portabella
carpet, left him with spinach
leaves beneath his pillow
and the grandest designs
of everything and nothing
he couldn’t find
in the grocery’s produce aisle.
* * *
In the Earthly Republic
He used to want to write this story about hungry ghosts, ghosts that roamed the earth and starved the way the living do—constantly, yet unable to hold onto the thoughts of their specific hungers for more than a minute or two, every few seconds wanting something different.
These ghosts, he thought, represented grand anysomethings about the world, its relentlessness—how we are all at least a little hungry but unable to pointerfinger our wants we move from this thing to the next dumbly, expecting elucidation, or clarity, whateverthefuck.
Not long ago, he gave up on the idea of telling stories about hungry ghosts and all they might have stood for. He writes now full of whiskey and the love of a woman he’s been imagining all his life. He’s wholly lost the fire of want and only worries now about those ghosts out there, still starving, devouring him, out of spite, for his abandoning them, for his commonbliss earthly contentedness.