Boot Theory

by Richard Siken

A man walks into a bar and says:
                                              Take my wifeplease.
                                                                                    So you do.
       You take her out into the rain and you fall in love with her
                                                   and she leaves you and you’re desolate.
You’re on your back in your undershirt, a broken man
                      on an ugly bedspread, staring at the water stains
                                                                                                  on the ceiling.
               And you can hear the man in the apartment above you
                                      taking off his shoes.
You hear the first boot hit the floor and you’re looking up,
                                                                                you’re waiting
       because you thought it would follow, you thought there would be
                        some logic, perhaps, something to pull it all together
               but here we are in the weeds again,
                                                                                    here we are
in the bowels of the thing: your world doesn’t make sense.
                      And then the second boot falls.
                                                            And then a third, a fourth, a fifth.

       A man walks into a bar and says:
                                            Take my wife—please.
                                                                   But you take him instead.
You take him home, and you make him a cheese sandwich,
               and you try to get his shoes off, but he kicks you
                                                                                  and he keeps kicking you.
       You swallow a bottle of sleeping pills but they don’t work.
                      Boots continue to fall to the floor
                                                                   in the apartment above you.
You go to work the next day pretending nothing happened.
               Your co-workers ask
                                     if everything’s okay and you tell them
                                                                                    you’re just tired.
            And you’re trying to smile. And they’re trying to smile.

A man walks into a bar, you this time, and says:
                                      Make it a double.
              A man walks into a bar, you this time, and says:
                                                                                 Walk a mile in my shoes.
A man walks into a convenience store, still you, saying:
                              I only wanted something simple, something generic…
        But the clerk tells you to buy something or get out.
A man takes his sadness down to the river and throws it in the river
               but then he’s still left
with the river. A man takes his sadness and throws it away
                                                      but then he’s still left with his hands.

Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale

by Dan Albergotti

Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.
Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review
each of your life’s ten million choices. Endure moments
of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you.
Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound
of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.
Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,
where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all
the things you did and could have done. Remember
treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes
pointing again and again down, down into the black depths.

(via yesyes)