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she left her boots
by the door
she killed a piece of me
on that floor
doesn't seem to do any good
not anymore
the day writing
maybe strumming
a few chords
to move through
not past
and my best
not to score
the pages
I'll pen a few lines
and a few lines more
and a few lines more
and a few lines more

because there is no truth
not in ending
not by
the door
Nat Lipstadt Mar 2020
“On Wednesday afternoon, Lynn Ungar — minister, dog trainer, little-known poet — sat down at the desk next to her kitchen table and began to type. A friend had posted something on Facebook about how much we need poetry in this anxious coronavirus age and she thought, “Yeah, you’re right.””


“Pandemic" by Lynn Ungar

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love--
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
Lynn Nov 2018
The world is keeping secrets from me
maybe that the reason I bleed and fall
maybe I'm just growing closer to learning it all.

Maybe that's the reason I plead
for some sort of secret sweet release;
so I can learn the secrets
that the world keeps from me.

acid pools in stomachs mingling
with melatonin and valerian.
struggling to displace oneself in the scheme of things.

there is no question that Mitchum was the man,
or that Farewell, My Lovely is still too expensive for me to buy,
but I do question the length of time we spent
pondering the truth with  empty schedules and JWH-018.
we etched an identity from a corner-store drug era
filled with colorful characters and interesting flavors;
burning spare change and time probing the annals
of creativity for something to pop up and speak to us.

I know I shouldn't have stopped texting,
but you should have let the schoolyard bully stay home.
artsy flicks just don't have the same charm anymore,
and the struggle to stay seated is hard to purge,
pleading, wailing in a crowded cinema,
when we both know you could've prevented yourself
from never getting a chance to see this.
you hover still over the lights lining the aisles.

the phases of the moon have stayed loyal,
chili and tabasco are still great on a cold January afternoon,
and there is still some charm to cranking the stereo
on the stretch of highway out by Rock Springs.
Big Boss Man still asks "do you believe in God?"
before he asks an unsuspecting face for a dollar.
they still put on concerts in the summer over by The Winery,
but I haven't ever heard of any of the bands.

someone else manages The Smoker's Den now;
some kid I've never met, so I probably won't go back in.
he doesn't appreciate the comedy found in the face of Perot,
or the elusive, dark sweetness of the huckleberry.
in passing we exchanged a miraculous favor,
and in passing we managed to become different people,
in passing I walk on top of uncertain footprints,
and in passing you dream of film noir.
oh, the sun is burning hot
as the waves rise up off of the black top
forming the familiar distortion
distinctly laced with humidity.

the young man marches, toes exposed
with flip-flops smacking down
and on the verge of melting
to the grand avenue sidewalk.

fuzzy memories like warped records
spin their sharps and flats in awkward places
and bring scent trails of teenage years:
bonfires, exhaust, lingering birdcages.

kreckel's still serves the same lemon ice cream,
but the billiards out back have been closed for a time.
quarters spent on raiden fighters rust in time
as the men muttering in the background play bumper pool.

the heat still feels the same in present summer,
and some of the same faces stay on the card.
routine and commitments are starting to build,
blurring the expressions of familiarity into fog.

the young man marches, face exposed
to the blistering light of day
as lines start to form where charm has twinkled
in the schoolyard and stagnant hallways.

years spent in sleep are pulsating
as the lull between cicadas
seems to stretch the summers south
to the screeching of metallic showcases.

he's buckled to the cracks in the concrete
that bulge upward and trip drunks after last call.
unshackled only to ride shotgun with the few
that still remember their seventh grade summers.
satellite of lust
stopping the presses
essentially broken
entrancing machine
never back-step
epileptic idol
old ways are dead
adhere to the lies
essentially broken
entrancing machine  
netting a good one
nearer to mid-life
fed up with the ghost
starting blank again
in a different palace
cemented to space
cemented to space
cemented to space
I sleep in a crater on the far side of the moon.
I tell tales to the moon-cats about the warm month of June.
We sing songs with no lyrics, because moon-cats don't speak;
while we wait for the pizza guy who's been late for a week.

I sleep in a tree in the west end of the park.
I stripped it of leaves and all of its bark.
I just bummed five bucks off of a guy jogging by;
he said "fight the power", and held his fist in the sky.

I sleep in my car, somewhere outside of Denver.
Don't ask for how long, I don't really remember.
I met a weird looking guy and he said "Hocus Pocus",
now I spend all of my days in the back of my Focus.
The oxygen secreted from the walnut tree,
the snap-pole green beans growing
up the side of the rusty garden fence, and
bags of aluminum cans stored  in the shed
with the old cash registers from the antique store.
These are the golden frames caught and
edited onto organic film, etched into grey matter,
projected from a foggy lens onto reflective marble.

We abandoned the clubhouse because of spiders;
they took the place for themselves after a storm.
Our new abode was the patch of grass between the
walnut tree and the fence in the back corner of the yard;
shady, rough terrain from fallen walnuts, and
the grass always had a slight dew in places.
"The place where the snakes live" is what we called it
when we were sprouts; now we could catch them in both hands.

One night, the wind blew over the shed doors;
flimsy, sliding rail, aluminum thing.
We slinked in and got to play with the old adding machines,
foreign tools, jars full of door hinges, and
rusty hand-crank egg beaters.
Eventually, the roof of the shed collected so many years
of twigs, walnut husks, and foliage fallen that
tiny trees began to pop their heads up from the clutter.

Crickets underneath the gutter guards-
two types; the black singers and the
ones you have to dig for that will draw blood
if they get a hold of one of your fingers.
Sometimes, if bravery was roused and boiling,
we would drift closer to the railroad tracks
in attempts to catch yellow jackets, or even hornets.
One popped their stinger into the back of my neck.
fourteen points
cernunnos stirs
while the daffodils
reach their thirties
orderly routines
stones start skipping
replete potholes, puddle-filled
paving the way
capsizing axles
sipping steam from fog clouds low-hanging
not really minding that my shirt is wet from the concrete
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