Ron Riekki | 2 Poems

Read by Aaron Belz @belzpoems |

The world is stupid

Or maybe not. Maybe the planet is brilliant. The earth
is intelligent as hell, meaning the dirt. It’s dark and smart.
And we come up with the idea that there’s a Hell in its
center. Could you imagine if someone said that about
you? We’re the bumbling idiots on Bumble, all awk-
ward and confused and hyphenated and obfuscated.
I saw a man a month ago walk into a koi pond, so
hypnotized by his phone that he became an American
un-funniest home video, except there was no video,
except there was, because we’re on hundreds of
cameras every day, the 1984 of it, except we’re
some crap TV version of Orwell, the gossip at work
where we don’t, the apartment complex where we’re
milked, nickeled and dimed and quartered and drawn

and I’m the worst of it all, writing a poem. What
the hell is that going to do? Am I going to get rich?
Or famous? Or drunk? Or improve cancer? Or save
The Whale or some other film that needs to
be restored a hundred years from now? I have no
idea how to have an idea anymore. At work, where
we don’t, we have Zoom meetings where the person
is in the room right next to mine. I can hear them
through the wall just as good as I can on the computer.
The plants are all dead at work. Outside my office
window I can’t see any trees. A gorgeous view of
parking lot, a lot of parking lot, so much parking lot
that it sometimes feels like that’s all the world is. I’m
getting tired. I’m going to light this poem on fire now.

Read by Aaron Belz @belzpoems |

I’ve been in three car crashes,

one where I was in a library, not driving,
the car coming through the window, and me

seeing it, the impossibility of it, taking a break
from Haruki Murakami’s worst book, the one

where he keeps saying penis over and over
like it’s a chant, which maybe it is, and

the chant makes cars enter windows and
it did, the heart attack of it all, the driver

slumped over the steering wheel before
the crash, how medical emergencies

can quickly turn into traumatic emergencies,
how the deep feeling of boredom can often

be better than the alternative, which is watching
the shelves domino, the glass disappearing

into a billion pieces, the display of Edgar
Allan Poe turning into the bloody end of

a Shakespeare tragedy and the librarian
who’d just cleaned up a table after some

kids had left, spilling grape juice, her scrubbing
and now that clean table has no legs and the clock

on the wall doesn’t have a wall anymore.
I think our amygdalae are hungry for all of this.

Ron Riekki’s books include Blood/Not Blood Then the Gates (Middle West Press, poetry), My Ancestors are Reindeer Herders and I Am Melting in Extinction (Loyola University Maryland’s Apprentice House Press, hybrid), Posttraumatic (Hoot ‘n’ Waddle, nonfiction), and U.P. (Ghost Road Press, fiction).  Right now, Riekki’s listening to Henry Hall’s “Hush, Hush, Hush, Here Comes the Bogeyman.”

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