Poetry — January 24, 2013 12:30 — 1 Comment

Two Poems – Rich Smith



“You are my hope for rocks,” says the one rock to the other.
“My island up there in the sun.”

“And you are mine, glittering in the cold gut of the ocean,”
says the other to the one.


“Do you know the physicists

say we never quite touch, and never quite will?
And so the water could never quite sate me,

nor could the sun ever quite dry you?
Not, at least, atomically,” says the one.

“Then where’s pleasure poised, if it exists—which it must—
in a world without touch?” asks the other.

“Not in me.” says the one.
“Not in me.” says the other.

“Between us then,” they agree.


And then the democratic rain poured down,
which was another kind of solution.




Her beauty was an imitation of Venus de Milo casually ordering a cheeseburger
and then asking what I wanted, and my love for her was an imitation of Rilke,
so of course I had whatever she was having and we became one through the burgers.

It was quiet there in the booth. We separately imagined taking a roll in the hay,
but then collectively we imagined the needles and the horse teeth sneaking in
on our peripheries. My phantom phantom limb tried to draw

a curtain around the whole scene, but by then the meal was over. There was nothing left
to do with the afternoon so we did nothing and told each other we liked it. Bought gum.
Found some place to pee. Forgot to go to the bank. At times no doubt we separately

remembered the Booth Era of Our Courtship. How we sat and loved.
How we loved and thought of sitting. And was it raining? It was.
And since it was we kissed and then more or less separated.


Rich Smith is the author of a chapbook entitled, The Great Poem of Desire forthcoming from Poor Claudia. He teaches writing and works on his M.F.A. at the University of Washington. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Tin House, Barrow Street, Guernica, The Southeast Review, Pleiades, Bellingham Review, and elsewhere.

One Comment

  1. […] So uniquely different but really giving you a sense of the person, their space, and their work. Rich Smith wrote of my condo building that it smelled like “bubblegum and weed” and I’ll […]

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What am I?

Bioluminescent eye
That sees by the shine
Of its own light. Lies

Blind me. I am the seventh human sense
And my stepchild,

Scientists can't find me.

Januswise I make us men;
Was my image then—

Remind me:

The awful fall up off all fours
From the forest
To the hours…

Tick, Tock: Divine me.

-- Richard Kenney