4 Poems


I am grateful for my mother
who after casually snooping through my new apartment
found a vibrator –
I will not call it mine, though it was –
as far as she knew it was simply a,
and mercifully said nothing.
And old furnaces,
that though loud and on occasion,
usually in the dead of night, terrifying
make me less chilly or less alone
which I realize over the clamor is absurd,
but also valid, and I allow myself this and am grateful.
Also clean water and sanitation
and various sciences. Most sciences.
It is important to me to understand that I don’t understand really anything.
This reminds me I am human.
Alternatively when I do understand something,
I feel human then too,
which it is nice to remember in the middle of the night.
I am grateful for you, and learning
the lengths you go to not mind
the way I’m ugly in the morning and other times as well,
or how I talk too much and often run late
or say “certainly” and phrases like
“I’m inclined to” which are really,
when you think about it,
redundant and strangely apologetic,
which troubles me because when I do apologize,
as I will need to, even want to,
I’d rather the words meant something fuller
than a bit of sound I threw out
while treading water,
looking for the right way to tell you
I hope you live forever.


Titled after a line stolen from a young adult novel

I. Identify your terror.
II. Weigh it.
III. Belittle it.

  1. Make passive remarks about your terror’s strange diction. Note its awkward gait and asymmetry. Talk at length about golden ratios and forget the point. Do not apologize.
  2. Let terror believe, for a moment, that you’re laughing with it, not at it. Invite terror closer. First ask then demand its secrets and more importantly its shames.
  3. Smile still; smile still; keep smiling. Graduate too quickly to blatant mockery.

Note: Refrain from sarcasm. Your terror has convinced itself its fluency in sarcasm is both its greatest weapon and its inevitable undoing.

Do not feed the fictions.

IV.  Try, maybe, telling your terror that people do not laugh at its jokes not because they don’t understand sarcasm, but because terror’s sense of humor sucks.

V. Figure out what terror loves.


Poem about belief

Felt like a fucking husk he said
and he asked
Will I again?

After all the try and fail and all the bleed and try
still he asked
(Will I again).

Let me tell you something.
About setting things on fire.

This is how you lose.
All at once.
It is not an earth scorched it is a clearing.

But he asks about again.


Notes on self-preservation

You gather everything you never loved into a blanket,
and you throw it in the river and take the lord’s name in vain,

you say goddammit because goddammit it feels good,
and you believe “mouthfeel” is itself onomatopoeia,
a word you can spell. Any time. Any place.


Kristin Lueke lived in California and then elsewhere and now Chicago. She doesn’t bake, but she did once have a dog. She tries to write not-poetry but keeps writing poetry instead. Her work has appeared in decomP Magazine, elimae, and the Acentos Review, and she has a chapbook forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press in August 2012.