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i freeze over
when i attempt to visualize giving myself
even an ounce of compassion

i would have to consider myself worthy
worthy of kindness
worthy of love
worthy of a home
worthy of life

i do not remember when i last felt i deserved compassion

it may have been when i was young
my foolish heart believed in the body for which it beat
until it broke
and broke
and broke

i am told i wear wisdom well
as if wisdom is a new coat that i tried on
instead of ancient scars under the fresh fabric

i did not choose
this

i plead with my reflection
even though we are both holding a knife
please
let me live
let me rest

but the villain lunges, slashing wildly, drawing blood
a hit
a palpable hit
Michael R Burch Nov 2021
Hymn to an Art-o-matic Laundromat
by Michael R. Burch

after Richard Thomas Moore’s “Hymn to an Automatic Washer”

O, terrible-immaculate
ALL-cleansing godly Laundromat,
where cleanliness is next to Art
—a bright Kinkade (bought at K-Mart),
a Persian rug (made in Taiwan),
a Royal Bonn Clock (time zone Guam)—
embrace my *** in cushioned vinyl,
erase all marks: ****, vaginal,
******, inkspot, red wine, dirt.
O, sterilize her skirt, my shirt,
my skidmarked briefs, her padded bra;
suds-away in your white maw
all filth, the day’s accumulation.
Make us pure by INUNDATION.

Published by The Oldie, where it was the winner of a poetry contest. This poem was inspired by the incongruence of discovering "works of art" while doing laundry at a laundromat with coin-operated washers and dryers. I was reminded of the experience while reading Richard Moore’s “Hymn to an Automatic Washer.” Keywords/Tags: hymn, art, America, Americana, laundry, laundromat, washer, dryer, appliances, clean, cleaning, cleanliness, clothes, clothing, underwear, god, godly, godliness, water, baptism, inundation, sonnet, analogy, humor
Anais Vionet Aug 2021
My sister Annick fixed me, locked me in, with cold, blue eyes as she sat down slowly next to me at the table. “I’m a surgeon,” she said, not quite casually, “a board certified surgeon.”

I give her a questioning look.

“I could take your steak knife,” she says, eyeing it, “plunge it into your neck - and oh, sure, there’d be a question or two but in the end - I’d walk away clean.”

“I don’t think,” I start saying…

Tears well to near overflowing in her turquoise eyes. “I came in - officer” she says, sounding stunned and surreal. “She was having a convulsion, she exhibited severe cyanosis, I couldn’t clear her airway, it was a classic tonic-clonic seizure.” she goes on, her voice rising to near panic with the diagnosis.

“You’d never…” I start to interrupt but she gently covers my mouth with her left hand while gathering the handle of the serrated silver steak knife, expertly, into her right hand.

“I attempted to perform a tracheostomy,” she continues in a traumatized but professional voice. “but as I began a transverse incision above the sternal notch,” a tear rolls down her cheek, “Anais suffered a severe generalized-onset seizure and convulsed, forcefully into the knife

IT WAS AN ACCIDENT!” I confess suddenly, as if under oath, in court.

There’s a moment of still silence.

“And WHEN,” she asked, wiping away the tear and turning the knife for a downward ******. “Were you going to MENTION IT?!”

“NOW! - before dinner!” I look around the empty room - for help - for a sympathetic jury. “It was an ACCIDENT! - I’m SORRRRYYYY!” I plead.

My sister slowly sets down the knife and says deliberately, purposefully - like a death sentence: “My Valentino sheer floral-lace top is STAINED.”

”I can FIX it!” I insist in a rush.

“Keep OUT of my room - and my stuff.” she grumbles, “And REMEMBER what I said,” she adds as she pats the knife before getting up and leaving the room.

“I WILL’” I promise to her back.

A second later, my mom sweeps in from the opposite direction.
“What’s up” she asks.

“Nothing” I almost whisper, head down.
Sisters... what are you gonna DO??    It was just a spaghetti stain - I looked GREAT in that top.
Garrett Johnson Jul 2021
No reason until.

Reassured and measured.
You take off your buttoned shirt.
Smothered in dead dye.
Left confined, smiling, once.
A murmur.
No place.
Left wanted.
All streaming in haunting.
Let go.
As the back of candles remember, the brain that coursed in
The drip.
The flow.
The pit.
In the stomach.
Just, still.


Garrett Johnson
Ehh, yeah.
Michael T Chase Mar 2021
I lay here and stare at the stitching in my new hat made in Bangladesh.
There are few other things I know about this country.
I imagine the sewing machines and brown fingers and faces working to get by.
Some, I imagine, with mopeds.
I imagine the teams of fabric.
The spools of thread.
Sewing on a tag that they may not be able to read.
Amongst the tropic-like weather.
Annual income less than what I make in a month.
That's about what my paper route paid: $600/year.
Reflections
Tatiana Apr 2021
I'm manufactured like hand-me-down clothes.
Worn at the seams though I'm not old.
Elastic stretched out,
zipper caught on its own track,
my buttons won't snap.
The threads at my knees tear
revealing scarred skin that won't disappear.

But I can roll the hems,
unlatch the zipper,
replace the buttons.
And truthfully, I like the look of jeans
with rips at the knees
so what if it reveals me?

I wear the clothes of my mother and sisters
what they loved is now mine to claim
for it doesn't quite fit them anymore
and perhaps some seams ripped
but that I can fix so it will fit me.

The clothes I wear may not be new
and hold old hopes that won't come true
but it holds old love too.
©Tatiana
Sometimes I look at a shirt I got when I was younger that used to be my sister's and I think how often I'm wearing the love of my family.
mikhaltsov Feb 2021
you store olden clothes in rear closets
smaller size doesn't fit
but you're slow to release it
you drip golden particles from under the sleeves
blue scent just soaked in
he couldn't move on

red wine bottles grow dusty
waiting for someone
to slop it all over the floor
I see
three-year race was puzzling
five-star, I still chime you
to slip back in my door

laying eyes on all my sweaters
through lens
you scan breaches in my polished facets
sticked out are
the tiniest strings

busy streets are our checkpoints
same curly haircuts
and same curvy outfits
all facets of yours in a walking men

haven't told you
you booked rent-free place
in my wardrobes
when squeezing your hand
but man, you're stale as bread too

**** you blue smell
from that dressing room
Amy Nov 2020
How can you judge
With your eyes alone?

I do not care for your colorful shoes
Nor your expensive jacket
Even less for that long car

Why would you?

Is it truly all we wish for
Something to please the eye with?

Does it bring you more pleasure?
Then a talk about the stars?

I want a connection
Not just attraction

The excitement to meet someone new
Often melts away after a day
Maybe after a date

I want more
I want to see beyond your soul

Tell me what you miss
What you hope for

Your story is what I long after
Not your empty shell
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