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August 24, 2017 | Poetry

Three Poems

John Allen Taylor

Three Poems photo

Sleep Hygiene Protocol

rewritten: Emotion Regulation Worksheet 14b; p. 307

  • Develop & follow a consistent sleep schedule
    even on weekends.
  • Do not use your bed in the daytime. Do not think of your bed in the daytime.
    Strip the bed & wash the linen each day.
    Strip the bed & hide the linen each day. 
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, heavy meals, heavy cream, heavy metals,
    heaviness of all kinds. Avoid sharp objects
    or objects. Avoid linen.
  • Give yourself an hour to fall asleep. Strip
    the bed. Hide the bed. Gather the cat,
    a pillow, & all your James Wright. Get into the bathtub. Give yourself an hour
    to fall asleep. Repeat.
  • DO NOT CATASTROPHIZE. Regather the cat. Walk to the corner store to say hello to Steven.
    Steven is awake & productive.
    Steven is okay.
    The cat is okay. Return home.
  • Write a love poem to Marie. Write a therapy poem.
    Write only poems you know can be categorized by those who do not love
    poetry.
    Burn the bed.
  • Forget the bed—its damp & its memory. Roll out the yoga mat & practice
    corpse pose.
    Regather beneath the cat.
  • Be still. Thrushes cluster at the sill & tell you of the weather.
    Write a bird poem. 
  • Outside, the city buses begin to creep along their routes. Write a list poem.
    Give your poems to the bed pyre.
    Throw your clothes on the bed pyre. Forget the bed beside you—
    its cunning & crush.
    Regather the cat. Regather beneath the cat,
    beside the pyre you must forget, beside the pyre you must forget.

 

Love Poem for Marie

Today Marie untangles the nightmares from my hair.

Today we agree that the house fly should be relocated outside & given water.

Today Marie & I decide we want blood in the poem.

Today we go to Frank’s Diner & our hash browns unfurl like Mr. Wilson’s corpse flower.

We don’t look away.

Today we drink sangria from mason jars with a woman whose last name is Holliday.

Today Marie & I get lost in the stacks at Hatcher Graduate Library. We’re tickled to be so lost.

Today we read Keith Taylor’s poems & recite them quietly to one another.

Today a mammoth and a mastodon gaze down at us in the Museum of Natural History.

Today Marie tries to convince me mastodons are “better.”

Today I hold Marie’s hand while she holds a Jane Kenyon poem in her other hand.

Today Marie tells me she loves me and seems more startled than usual.

This is because of the mastodon.

Today Marie & I drink a beer brewed by Trappist monks. 

Today Marie & I discuss my embarrassment at being caught blankly staring at a bikini clad UFC woman while drinking beer brewed by Trappist monks.

Today I am briefly chagrinned. 

Today I kiss her knuckles & we lumber home like mammoths.

Today we write poems without conclusions.

Today why would we bother.

 

Horoscope with Calcium

Mourn the evening, but do not speak of it. The moon will orbit

           what has calcified within you, whatever you quelled & mistook

                      for dream. Don’t grimace:

                                                                    you have earned

what happens in the starlessness. Begin once more a prayer

                        to whatever is unnamed. 

Practice your isolation with care. Lay the razor on the soft

of your forearm, across each pale ridge. 

This night will be difficult for you—peel it open with your teeth.

                                                                   Set the razor aside

           unused. 

                       Some will tell you to call this courage.

                                                          It is not.
           Adorn yourself with kidney stones & bramble.     Sing.

                                                                                       This is drama

           & this is clemency.

 

image: Aaron Burch


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