David McAleavey



Pawing around the yard, chopping stump-roots, raising stone terraces.

Nighttime closes in, opens out, making me part of a huge lung.

Fortunately, morning will re-energize me with wild projects,

righting the sagging gates I made last year, writing poems which leech

deep into other people's poems, like this one, training the hedge.


Flows and turns like water, my mood, scratching back at the spinning earth.

Leaping around my to-do list squelches, or is, self-destruction.

Rows and columns, my grid of duties, teasing me with importance;

success might lie in following through; contrarily, I wander.


Sounds familiar?—or possibly sloppy, even despicable.

Awkwardness of this confession: I want to speak what you will hear.

Popularity promises lots to the one Rose of the Year.


Roundness and completeness are what I seek, not sloth and chubbiness—

are not what I end up with, soft and pudgy, over-ripening.





Drinking too heavily?  Things out of control?  Skies always gray,

rainy yesterday, today, day after day?  Have dizziness,

sinking and fainting spells, petit mal, maybe?  Anorexia?

Gaining, even though you're exercising?  Frequently alone?

Breaths sound like panting?  Confused what to wear?  Am I getting close?

Bone-tired, bone-heavy, locking joints, it's like you're really lazy?

Death starting to sound pleasant?  How often do you have these thoughts?

Alone for breakfast, and for supper?  Can you name the news anchors?

Hours seeming longer than they did?  Days blurring?  Ringing in your ears?

Release Me From This Vale of Tears the prayer you're muttering?  No

power to change, no will power, nothing you need?  I'm too loud?

Peace, real true inner peace, not even a memory?  Really?

Food too greasy, sunlight too hot, clothes itchy, you just can't stand it?

Would you go with me to the park?  Is there someone you can call?

David McAleavey is a Professor of English at George Washington University.  His most recent book, his fifth, is Huge Haiku (Chax Press, 2005).  He has recent work in Full Moon on K Street (Plan B Press, 2010), as well as in The Broadkill Review, The Portable Boog Reader, and Divine Dirt Quarterly.  He has work forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Poetry Northwest, Hubbub, Poet Lore, and Connecticut Review, among other places.



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