Monday, January 17, 2005


A friend dared me to use the phrase "bitch-ass cold" in a poem, so I did. Not sure how good it is, but I had fun writing it:


Bitch-ass cold was how you described the air,

your own pluming out into the month,

and I had to smile, your forecast

four letter visceral. No more

technical a term than the staccato chatter

of teeth, the blue vibrato

of lips, the stolid stamp of booted feet.

All around us, the mad wait

to besiege the stores

for milk, for bread, for eggs

if the first flurry falls,

if the ground goes ash fine and white.

Where is what I refuse

to wear, my coat,

my mits you joke knitting for me,

where is Barbados sun

and why not here,

the tilt of the earth no good excuse

for January’s anti-social

sky. On the doorknob, on the door,

in the air are the hidden

germs on which you spend

your days and words

and in this air there’s no good medicine

for anything. It’s cold

and the shiver of the world

stops in my bed.


Anonymous said...

wonderful specimen of a profoundly failed poem
do you chuck it?
do you bring out the scalpel and remove the cancer?
would be instructive to all to see how you revise

David Vincenti said...

Perhaps I'm numbed into bias for this poem because it actually has been {ahem} that cold for so long here in NJ, but I enjoyed this. I like the phrase "blue vibrato of lips" and the whole sentence describing the cold through the motion of the body suffering from it.

Dare poems are such fun! My favorite among dares I've received is to write a poem using only words that begin with M.

I have cruel readers.

Anonymous said...


Stops in my bed, never/
starts, and this shivering just the body's pathetic/
attempt at warmth, sheets and feet cold/
as a witch's tit (whisper: cold as a witch's/
heart), and me with no cold medicine, so I starve/
what's got a hold, feed the imagined/
fever while chills shake me, an epilepsy, spoon/
spilling broth and noodles; chicken soup cures/
the symptoms, oh, but not the woman--she ails,/
she aches, she wails, touch the surface of any object/
she touched then yourself and you'd catch me/
--would it kill you to pick up the phone, to turn/
the doorknob, to breathe what I've exhaled?/
I'm tired of the sky's cold shoulder, the sun's icy
eye, I'm tired of longing for sand and tide/
in the dead of winter. Tell me, please,/
what good is wanting what can't be/
had. Buy me bread and milk and I'd still go/
hungry. Give me your coat and gloves and I'd still be/
out here in the cold, teeth chattering. The temperature?
Bitch ass cold, you proclaim. Cold as a bitch? Yes./
Flattened beneath your boot, they don't call this crush/
for nothin', eh? Can't you see I'm so close I can name/
the shape of your breath? Snake. Ghost. Wave./