Three Poems by Diana Rickard

These three poems by Diana Rickard excavate the present, looking at how memory seeps into the moment. They attempt to bear witness to the now…

by: Diana Rickard

Constellation

Depletion: less
of the stuff of yourself
the force of will
on unstructured time
the loneliness
of a tight worry
at 11am and at 4
and before bed
Every day of the week
a Monday or a Wednesday
Saturday equally
The early promise
diminishes
incrementally
inevitably
“Not bad” is always better
than “bad but not totally
terrible.” What age
is too young
for a child to feel nostalgia
to be overcome
by loss
to scrunch up
with dusk dread
about what was not accomplished
in a day? When
did I first count my hours
and why
did I never stop?
Youth: lying on your back
looking up at the stars
feeling the profound
singularity
of tininess
your body
a steady
undeniable
pulse
in a vast
and vastly distant
spacial dome
of dead light
Now: wondering
when I last
did that
and an accompanying
panic
Oh please
let this weird
arthritic
city kid
lie on the grass
in a timeless night
spread solid
and whole
and open
just totally
there
just
once more

 

The Amber Substance

Understand why I turn away
Sheer swath over the whole thing
TV myth, greatly loved
Admirably smart outfits
Staring doesn’t conjure fun or even a secret
Automat soup from ketchup packets
Wary strange and tired eyes
It will leave me inconsolable forever
Rice film or pasta cooking
Pearl-sheened rondelles
What’s easier than beading
Thickly translucent dripped gold
Drama, sculpture, figure
I understand why I turn away
Llama chase, buoying opportunity
You never forget that smell, pipe tobacco
Dinge on the window makes it all so small
Numbed by periwinkle illusion
The feeling of being tricked
Memory, toys, abundant plastic
Could it possibly get darker and less appealing
A new calendar that intends to whip things into shape
Something for everyone to do
This greatly loved myth
It will leave me inconsolable forever

 

Encounters at the End

I do exactly what the motivational speaker says: I interrupt.

I want to impress with how clever I am
and also avoid that territory and distract
from my scary thoughts and rescue you
from your inabilities and express again
and again my own desire.

My grandeur in a nutshell: chocolate croissant
and Americano each morning
five minutes of quality interaction.

The spittle of sharp snow out there can never hurt me
heated and six stories above it all.
Ink on creamy paper – dash item dash
the crickle on still, then sudden swirl of air.

Every day I think of the nihilist penguin.
He (or she) was so small, the frozen earth
so vast. I’m haunted by her blind, unstoppable
determination. To flee, passionately, into nothing,
certain death.
But why?

Other animal tragedies grip inside me
living there with a grasp on my chest.
“You’re afraid of people”
someone once said to me out of the blue
and I did a double take
my mouth open like some stupid door.

Maybe I should make a list of everything that haunts me
that shudders my consciousness or else is a dormant coil
just simply there.
Why aren’t we running around all the time
screaming like mad men?
I want to speak with naked frankness wherever I am.
I want to be the Werner Herzog of myself
continuously questioning and sense-making.
I want to hold on to the bloody horror
of a fresh kill in a leopard’s shameless mouth,
or the agonizing despair of ubiquitous poverty
or the eerie drone in the thin atmosphere
of an arid, airless planet. The loneliness
of space. The poetics of my couch.

 

Diana Rickard is a Brooklyn-based poet and Associate Professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and magazines.

4 Comments

  • It’s not every day that poems make me want to meet the poet. These poems allow me to view your life, the very substances you imbibe, the coffee, the pastry. Above all, it’s your expressions of vulnerability. The formula is simple: honesty=vulnerability. Your poems are honest. I hear your voice in them. I see your world. I feel your sense of fragility, the aura of impermanance. These poems are lovely and inspiring. They make me want to write more poems in imitation. Yes, that is flattery.

  • I ditto Arthur’s beautifully-said comment. This is fantastic poetry. It all starts with the voice, and, my word, what a voice.

    “my mouth open like some stupid door.” – Incredible writing.

    The last poem, “Encounters at the End” reminds me a little of Kerouac’s “On the Road” in regards to the insanely brilliant energy.

    Brava!

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