Rich Ferguson: Two Poems
He Says, She Says He says, what does this mean? She says, it means what it feels like it means. He says, but I don’t feel anything. She says, that could mean everything. He says, but what if we play the record backwards? What if we hold our memories up to a mirror? What will they see that we don’t? She says, the flowers I once picked for you are now wild dogs snarling at the door. He says, I’ll build a new house whose location is known only to us. She says, our bed is a graveyard. He says, those snarling dogs at the door, I’ve turned them back into flowers and have placed them by your pillow. She says, your spider logic has eight legs too many on which to offer any truth. He says, I’ll write us a new life if only I can find a pen that uses my blood for ink. She says, you’re like the hangover I haven’t suffered in years. He says, you’re the empty bottle from which I find it difficult to consume a moment’s peace. She says, your hands are wounded birds I once thought I could heal. He says, these aren’t birds, these hands are restless musical notes still searching out their song. She says, the moon is the moon is the moon. He says, the moon is the bittersweet symphony I used to sing to you on summer nights. She says, last night I dreamed you got lost in a desert of your bleached-bone sorrow. He says, did I make it out alive before your alarm clock went off? She says nothing. He says, funny how a silence can say everything. She says, distance is the best medicine for us. He says, I’ll leave my shadow by the door in case you change your mind. She says, roll over and go to sleep. He says, I’ve been rolling in my grave for lifetimes. She says, why did we even get together in the first place? He says, life’s answers are interesting when one only has lightning to read by. She says, it’s cold outside. He says, the wind now c a r r i e s the shape of who we are. She says, these days with you are gifts I no longer wish to receive. He says, I never know what shirt fits me best when I wear my heart on my sleeve. She says, don’t worry. The heart maintains its beat even when its love moves on. * Everything is Radiant Between the Hates Days boobytrapped with animosity, reeking of gunpowder’s acrid bite— when the bass-heavy beat of police brutality makes it so you can’t breathe, and kids begin the new school year with face masks and bulletproof backpacks; when homegrown terrorists keep getting younger, and bullet speech grows louder; when those who perish from shootings, beatings, lynchings, overdose, and disease are reduced to body-bag hashtags on social media. So heavy these days when chaos holds sway, and pallbearers bear the weight of still another coffin across the worn, cobbled streets of our eyes. In between it all— moments of grace: a kind word, a shared kiss, offering a child tinderstick phrases such as please and thank-you to illuminate their journey forward. Here, contentment is revealed, everything is radiant between the hates.
Photo credit: Alexis Rhone Fancher
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pushcart-nominated poet Rich Ferguson has shared the stage with Patti Smith, Wanda Coleman, Moby, and other esteemed poets and musicians. He is a featured performer in the film, What About Me? featuring Michael Stipe, Michael Franti, k.d. lang, and others. His poetry and spoken-word music videos have been widely anthologized, and he was a winner in Opium Magazine’s Literary Death Match, LA. His poetry collection, 8th & Agony is out on Punk Hostage Press, and his debut novel, New Jersey Me, has been released by Rare Bird Books. His newest poetry collection, Everything Is Radiant Between the Hates, was published in January 2021 by Moon Tide Press.
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