Not By The Hair On My Chinny Chin Chin
Already my nails have grown long again,
and you show me the back of a hammer.
I asked for the fire escape, the easy way out.
My computer’s gone months without backups
by the time I break down in the Apple store,
hands deep in a bag of old baba ganoush
and gnawed carrot tops. My appointment is next.
Who stole the cookie from the browsing history?
Who gave my fears the same name
as the snowdrifts? A dark tuft
in the shape of a paperclip has sprung up
at the farthest blue edge of my desktop,
a coiled office monolith punching through
the Grand Canyon. Clamp me together.
It’s December, a blunt month.
Clawed molecules grab at my hair and lift
trains off their tracks. Frost accrues
on the wreckage, a dusting of clippings.
Nothing can change. I never pray or read
newspapers, or eat kohlrabi.
I’m afraid to look under my band-aids.
For the People Who Run So Fast, Their Hair Whipping
I made a plan for the sake of my whiteboard,
bought a pen just to busy some paper.
I’d loan it to you if you’d promise
to doodle my name in 4-sided spike-letters,
so people can get me from multiple angles at once,
and we’ll all get along the way pets do.
The first chaperone wagged her finger
as her way of saying, “I’ll second that,”
and the others joined in, nodding, wagging,
and saying, “I think we’re onto something.”
They pat the tabletop, nodding, patting,
except for the bartender,
who just shakes her head and says, “Kid,
sorry, can’t let you do that tonight.”
Jack Chelgren grew up in the suburbs of Seattle, WA, spent a year in Middletown, CT, and now lives in Seattle proper. He has a BA in English from the University of Washington, writes poetry and essays, and plans to pursue a PhD in English or American Studies.