National Poetry Month Day 10: “Seven Confessions: A Chapbook” by Julie Sheehan


Seven Confessions: A Chapbook

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I. The Boring Themes of My Poems

Lost in the City. Agri-Decay. What,
You Don’t Love Me? Why Racism
Is Bad. Beyond Rhetoric. Wow,
That Sounds Good. (Sounds good,
right?) A bumper, but for the bump
my Volvo gave it, unmarked by wisdom
parallel to mine. Here is the bagel
shop. Here’s the steep bill.

II. Long Searches For Mates

Bull elephants do it by migrating.
Or, electronically, through Grouper.

III. What I Would Do

Combine mayhem and bomb to mint a mom.
Twist feather until it bleeds and births a father.
Our words contort our families, the druthers,
shavings and breaks that solder a son

to bits, from bits. In double helix snippets
three beings act their one-act tragedies
(which pre-supposes playwrights, not lotteries,
not drawn straws but strings tugging puppets.)

Which begs the question of words: playthings or calls
of the divine? The last syllable of time
or what we do to glue it back together?

I see my son un-crucified, the thrall
of him inviolate—enduring as rhyme,
a couplet, each line enjambed to beat the other.

IV. Other Poets

One says JA barely revises, if that—so
I wrote this drunk. Is it any good?

V. I’m Sick of Erudition

My own, most of all, yet I hear
a call-in radio show, a woman falter
even as she takes the mic:
“Palin was wonderful, I don’t know
about Iraq and all that.”
Should the caller be determinative?
Should erudition call it in or off?

VI. Childhood: Get Through It

Lined for lunch, I shuffled behind the smartest
cheerleader, not knowing that she was knocked up.
They’d announce the Honor Society in
only an hour.

“Wonder who’ll get in?” was her speculation,
though it really wasn’t a speculation.
“I will. So will you,” I replied. She stiffened,
choosing the goulash.

VII. Mortality, Duh.

You can peel out at the intersection, but
you’re still driving a station wagon.

-Julie Sheehan

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JUlie Sheehan is the author of the poetry collections Thaw (2001); Orient Point (2006), which won the Barnard Women Poets Prize; and Bar Book: Poems and Otherwise (2010). Sheehan is also the recipient of a Whiting Award.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →