How To Write A Poem
You start, predictably, with your past;
gather it in a large pile
and throw it all away.
Despite what everyone thinks,
you will have no use for it.
Take a warm bath with no soap; just
watch your skin undulate
beneath the clear water.
This is part of the cleansing process,
emotional and physical,
but you could have guessed that.
Be still. Call an old friend and tell
them what you’re doing now. Focus
entirely on the present.
Then, turn off all electronic devices.
Grab a sheet of paper
and a Number Two pencil.
Write down the first thing that comes
to your mind for the next 20 minutes.
This will resemble a list.
Drink plenty of fluids – preferably spring water
from a mountainous source. Travel
there and bottle it yourself for added
impact. Stay away from bugs
but try not to kill any of them;
it will destroy the karma
that you are now creating.
Rearrange your furniture.
Feng shui is old but new again.
See the world from a new perspective –
feel free to pick anything reasonable.
Be safe. Mention my name.
Don’t stop writing until your fingers
literally quit because of the pain.
It shouldn’t be for a very long time.
Something I Should Say About Why I Stopped Listening to Country Music
You may remember holding hands
at the fair that autumn of our senior year,
a local band playing a country song
about finding a lost love filling the air
around us. I didn’t realize it at the time
but everything about our lives was
becoming a country song, from my pickup
truck I used to drive to the boots you used
to wear. We thought of staying put in our
small town forever, having kids young,
taking a job at a factory, walking around
this fair every year and feeling complete.
We dreamed our small dreams. But the band’s
next song revealed an inconvenient truth,
mentioning something about regrets,
and, briefly, I felt a regret that day,
that I could not stay in town for good,
and then certain features of your personality
started to bother me, including your boots.
I felt this sudden need to drive my pickup
truck off a cliff and everything at the fair
lacked appeal, even the food. All I could
think of was my future self dressed in a suit
and tie, accompanied by this remarkable
woman, listening to a symphony in some
foreign city play Brahms or Handel, two
composers I hadn’t ever heard of, but
beautiful sounds that I knew existed,
in a world without regret, or pickup trucks,
a world without a trace of our plans
of misdirected youth.
Dogs Riding In Cars, A Brief Analysis
The dog on the passenger side
is a curious thing, appearing
so human there, its head
against the headrest, body like
a statue on the cloth seat.
The driver looks over, and they
could be discussing which Spanish
wine they will have with dinner –
much different than, say, the
nervous breed, slobbering
across the backseat, hopping
around from window to window
in a futile effort to escape, or
the dog that likes to stick its
nose out the window to taste
the rush of air each time he goes
for a ride. But these are nothing
compared to the toy breeds
that tend to inhabit rear window
space, sunning themselves beneath
the angled glass, alternately
napping and watching the world
unfold behind them, content
not knowing of what’s to come.
Moving In With Martha Stewart
It was a big step,
cohabitating, she called it,
something her friends warned
her against, encouraging
her to wait a little longer, if
she were to do it at all, don’t
be rash. But we were in love
and her guard was down as it
should be when you’re in love
so we bought the antique Cape
after seeing the house only once;
we started imagining life there,
a warm kitchen, a good movie
on a Sunday afternoon, a glass of wine
on the counter, morning lovemaking.
But on the day we were supposed
to move in and decorate,
everything I knew about Martha
changed because I didn’t grasp things
like color palettes,
and my framed 1977 Rolling Stones
poster suddenly wasn’t a good fit,
nor was my plasma television.
There was no place to fit
my clothes in these small closets,
and so what if I liked potato chips.
We had our first fight, but it was
apparent that our whole world
was collapsing on us that very day
that she understood
and I didn’t understand,
and wool scarves,
organic free trade coffee
and design elements,
terminology that was beyond me.
I am a simple man, indeed, Martha.
I’m sorry for wasting your time.
One Fantastic Ride
I never had one
as a little kid, a
blue sports car bed,
though every time
I went to the toy store
I fantasized that
this time, we’d take
to set up in my
room and I
in my dreams
with the pretty
girls in my class,
all of us fitting
snugly into its
and as we took
and I got
Now it’s on
and I’m much older
but I want to know
if I slept in it
for just one night
with my feet dangling
off the front
and my body taking
up all this space
if I could go
back in time
for a ride
with those two girls
whom I was
always too shy
to talk to
one of them
and feel her
David Polochanin is a teacher, poet, freelance writer, and former journalist in Connecticut. His poems have been published by Native West Press, Toasted Cheese, Negative Suck, and will appear in Sentence. His essays and articles have been published in The Boston Globe, Providence Journal, Hartford Courant, and Christian Science Monitor. He recently completed a writing fellowship at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut.