my arms are tired

by Gabriel Ricard

Twenty miles away from home,
and I’m thinking about dreams of phone calls,
that were nonetheless beautiful
because each one prayed for my soul.

Ten years away from the old house,
the ex-girlfriend is still a real looker,
and she never runs out of things to tell
the people who were too drunk to leave the front yard alive.

We have to let these people go.
We need to shower, let the fingernails grow back
and leave the music to old men who play in pawn shops
for the stories other people are going to tell about them later on.

Forget that the online journals of the dead envy the living.
Dance with me until May 28th. Rest up on the other side of the train,
and talk to me anyway like I’m right there beside you.

I’ve said the wrong thing to you,
every time I’ve ever opened my mouth.
I’m going to keep doing that,
and it was only ever intentional the first time.

You needed a laugh. “Dance with me”, I said,
and I later saw video evidence that you smiled
when the rose shot out of my jacket sleeve
and caused severe brain damage
when it struck the middle of my forehead.

My best friend was moving to Ireland,
dartboards made all his big decisions,
but he stayed around long enough to call an ambulance,
and tell you that my life was frequently for the benefit
of pretty strangers who devastate with words meant for others.

That’s a lie,
but I wanted you to get a little stoned with me anyway,
so I ran with it and bought shoes
that could tolerate the fire on the ground.

O’Lord, as always,
help me learn how to humiliate myself
for less than a million people.

I said that when your older brother and I
shared an airplane crash,
ten years before I knew he even had a sister.

I said that when we first met by accident,
and I’ll probably say it again
when someone knocks on the door, and tells me
I’ve been in the shower for a day and a half.

I say a lot of things,
and that’s not because I’m a pair of idle hands
looking for the devil in disguise.

Words, objects and people posing as objects
have conspired to create quite a mess,
and I don’t work as quickly to sort them out as I should.

You’ve likely noticed this,
but you’re too polite to say anything.


Posted on 02/03/2012
Copyright © 2022 Gabriel Ricard

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Cassandra Leigh on 02/03/12 at 11:51 PM

I love the form of this, each blocky little stanza... each one is really a poem in itself. Makes me want to do a "topic" exercise for every one of them.

Posted by Meghan Helmich on 02/10/12 at 04:43 PM

I, too, have once been in the shower for a day and a half.

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