Briefcase Full of Yeats by Erin Reardon

 

 

Oh babydoll when you love, you love too deeply
And when you hurt, it’s even deeper
When you write, you wrestle your conscience
Trying to prove something to unknown readers
Wearing your cowardice like a pretty yellow flower
So all that sounds promising is a mask
A subtle fuck you
To whom it may never concern

Take your briefcase full of Yeats
And walk beneath the deathcloud taxi club
You are the struggle
The harbor choking
Stretched out
A hole in a condom leaked you out

You are the blanket
Ragged
Cum-stained and frayed

You are the Chinese newspaper hat
Blowing round the subway
Begging dimes and empathy
Or a stale pack of Sonomas

You are the Mass Ave. earthquake
Cambridge Street bellyache
You are broken teeth in a tea strainer
The fog of Christmas past
The flickering light in a thunderstorm

Don’t you know you don’t have to hold on any longer?
Just like the night no longer holds you
The way that it did
When love had you in an airport
Once upon a time

You tried your hand at happy poems
Just so no one would worry for you
Tried not to breath too loud
Or step too hard on a plate glass floor

You loved
You lost
You blushed and gave yourself away
Telling sad stories
Every other rainy day

So there’s your fucking fairytale
There’s your devil-may-care
All aglow
In Gerry’s Somerville sideshow

Picking up your pieces
Because another dim light was snuffed out
Another ordinary someone
You molded into Christ-like love
In hopes of absolution

Forgiveness came at a hefty price
For you, child, know not what you do
When you shrink away from happiness

Only to be the harbor
Drowning
To be the seeds that grow and grow
Feeding the multitude
Destitute
Disillusionists

No one listens anyway
Waste of flesh
Waste of breath
Nobody holds the door
When you’re not someone’s lady anymore

Throwing handouts
What party in Hell
Gave you a favor?
Hugs for drugs

The world hasn’t crumbled yet
Hasn’t tumbled from your shoulder like an angel’s sweat

One day
You’ll be the periwinkle shell
Drenched and hollow

You’ll be the quarter
Jangling down the sewer grate
The seven thirty flight
That just couldn’t wait

The favorite flirt
With foggy eyes
That burn lies like effigies

The bearded lady
With sad-stained fingers
A joke

A friend in a pint glass
A tear in a bar rag
A tug on a heart valve

You and that briefcase full of Yeats
Fairy banshees
Howling
To a January moon.

Erin Reardon is a poet. The great Winston Jones once described her as “Emily Dickinson….without all that weeping on the page.” She has been published at Silenced Press, Hecale, the Neo-Lampshadian Outpost, Spoonful Quarterly. She has featured at Stone Soup and performed open mics at Stone Soup, Open Bark, The Cantab, and The Lizard Lounge. She currently resides in Davis Square, Somerville MA where she is often spotted drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon and eating ice cream cake.

 

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