ditch,

the poetry that matters

Andrew Freiman

Andrew Freiman's poetry has appeared in Persona, a literary magazine at Texas State University, and Words Work, an online literary site that has published both his short fiction and his poetry. For the 2011 reading season he was an editor for Persona. Andrew received his bachelor's degree from Texas State University-San Marcos.

THE NIGHT OF THE BOY’S BIRTH

salt water                                                                                                            lightning
                filling the house’s empty glasses
                creating a room +                                                             destroying it too

                                                a soul can be emancipated in due time

here                                                                                        said the rain
                                  you asked + I am coming
GO!                                                                                         said the could be ocean
                                  + ratify the agreements we made
                                                                                                                years ago

clear words catch                              ing          li                             ght
                                                                                                                  more is better more is better
                everyone stands out        side in their bed               clothes
                some drunk                         others
                weeping
                                                                 others still
                peer       ing
                over their screens

                                                                 all of the mouths opened
                                                                                                                                                in awe

(for the most part we know that                                                we can see that too
                                                                                                  the CNNCTNS
                                                the points strung             
                                                                                together
                                                                momentarily

in the smallest                                                  space                                                    of recognition

+ yet we are pulled                          out for the procession                                 in the sky

                                                                                                                                yes

                                ((this is a world we will never know
                                (((we are only [may be] able to tell one road from another

                                                but that is not much


                                                                                                                our constructions are based
                                                                                                                            on false convictions

everyone stands               outside or                                                            inside
                                                                                holding onto their intestines
                                                                                as if they would
                                                                                explode
                                                                others
                                sleep constantly
                                                                others
                                still have mud for
                eyes
                + marbles for joints


                                all of us gaping                  gaping                                                  gaping
                                                                                                                                                                          to be filled
like the mouth of a mass



                                                                                                                                grave







 

no one ever said that we had to be good people to keep on living, no one be that way,
i’ve never even heard of such a thing: to live your whole life in hiding, in fear,
not anymore of course not, BUT SON, BE CAREFUL ABOUT THE DECISIONS YOU MAKE,
 


                                                                      if you are lucky enough to have no enemies 
                                                                      be careful you don’t become one

 

 

STEPH IN COLLEGE

Sometimes I think that a good life depends on how good you are at lying, convincing yourself that it is good, that things are ok everywhere. It wouldn’t be very hard to make all of Africa disappear, the starving in India, the dying in Afghanistan, the women in Iraq waiting to have their faces cut to shreds. All we have to do is ignore it and everything is ok. We can just worry about our EZ passes and our student loans, our kids, our terribly dark marriages, the sagging bodies that slap with the disgust of time. Life would be fine if we had only these things to worry about. The world at large, implicating us in the experiment of humanity, also stands as a reminder of the more general failings of our hearts. How we can ignore so well. How even in our own downtowns, or own rural outskirts, our sub- and ex-urban schmorgusborgs—children and adults that can’t read, babies without parents, trash hanging in the trees like a celebration constantly postponed. Even our own people are neglected. Starving inside their mortgaged homes, the middle school, the largest mall in America. I try to imagine that everyone else is stone, that they are already dead: shades, projections of my mind; I want to believe that no one else exists because then there is no reason to ask for forgiveness; I have committed no crime; I have failed absolutely no-one. So no. No. Life is not good.

My mother would always tell me that we would all strand trial someday. “Be careful, Stephanie Anne. There is no reason in the world to put God against you.” When I think about the world as a place filled with stone pillars, all of them the same size, each with a crude face scribbled with a nail, all of them everywhere silent as a dawn on a mountaintop, I think of my mother and her words hammered into my heart. I think of the way she died, and how quiet everyone was. We didn’t protest at all. My sisters with mouths made of quilts, my dead father still dead like always. And me, standing against the wall trying to hold back my tears; I won’t let them see, I told myself. I won’t let them see my heart. But why? They were my family. My mother was dying. Death hovered over us like the noise of radio impossible to turn off or tune correctly. The static of death. No one protested. Said no. Refuted the simple weightless saying the doctors handed out so easily, “It’s time.” No one did anything. But my mother was not an obelisk. She was not ignored. She was tied to me. But we just watched. And when it was over the whole ceremony: the emotions—small pockmarks of fire in my throat. Eyes like half moons. Hair greasing over. The disgusting smells of the place. How melodramatic it all seemed. Standing around for hidden cameras; for God to finally make an appearance after years of upturned faces. She had been dead for fifteen minutes before we realized anything had happened. I couldn’t help but think that someth… All of us standing there, lying to ourselves in our own creative ways.

 

YESTERDAY 3AM

                a wheelchaired man
                                                                                                his life   in plastic              bags

                                                accidentally dropped                                      a gallon of skim milk

                                                                                                                LUCKILY

                                he escaped without any accusations
                                                                                                                                                silently
                                                                                                                                                rolling   away

                                                                dreaming                                             of
                                                                the rotating                                        panties 
                                                                                                                                & bras

                                the only spots of color
                                                in the white expanse

                imagining the way it 
                felt to be the one waiting
                for them to finally
                                                                                                               be dry

2AM IN THE KITCHEN, A CONFRONTATION

tell me the truth
                                                                                                                                                                          no
yes
                                                                                                                              i slept with someone else
                                                                                                                   I’m turning into our neighbors
don’t say that
or you will
                                                                                                                                                         it’s too late
                                                                                                                                                                 isn’t it
 


how long have you
been like this
                                                                                                                                                             like what
a GAY MAN



                                                                                                                                                           he has tits
                                                                                                                                                              veronica

                                                                                                                 it’s more complicated than that




what about our son?

                                                                                                                                              what about him?

 

A REMOVED UNCLE IN GIZA SPEAKS TO THE SON

                                                                                    now happens what is this :voice shrew’s a with
                                                                                        prayer in though as together placed mirrors
                                                                                                                                        same the everything
                                                                                                                                   means it what that isn’t

                                                                                                      faith have longer no people your that
                                                                                                               wilderness the of existence the in
                                                                                                contradiction for allow not do that cities


                                                                green down flow                                                         red up flow
                                                                                                                                              colors all in out &

                                                                                                                                                              say they
                                                                                                                                      want you ever what

                                                                people the of all                                     here are they
                                          (too here welcome are you)                    known have you that

                                     there is everyone
                                                  food eating
                                            games playing
                                           money making
                                   ways interesting in

                                                                                                                          good looks it away far from
                                                                                                                                                to supposed is it
                                                                                                                        ?happen that shouldn’t why

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                                                                                                                                 May 29, 2011