Copyright © 2008, W.S. Gainer
They asked for a war poem.
I wrote saying,
"I don't write war poems."
They wrote back,
"Excuse the poor choice
of words,
we meant an anti-
war poem."
I again wrote, saying,
"I do not write anti-war poems
They wrote back,
"Do you have a political poem
we can use?
I wrote again,
"Nor I do write political poems."
They wrote,
"Any comments you may have
about the war
would be a greatly appreciated."
I wrote them, saying,
"Okay, this is it."
Sent a title
and three lines,
a short poem –

     Make It Stop. 
      just make it

They wrote back,
"Mr. Gainer,
we apologize for offending you.
It was not our intent.
Should you
change your mind,
we would love
to include your work
in our publication."
And the War Rages On
I heard your shadow last night,
felt it pass me in the hall,
heard your car start,
pull out of the drive
and go...
Your chain – the St. Christopher,
is still on the night stand.
There's a pair of stockings, shoes;
I left them where they dropped.
The note
you taped to my rearview,
it's still there.
I know,
I can't help it –
I miss you...
I'll leave the door unlocked
and a window open –
just in case
your shadow
still loves me...
Listening to Shadows
After the Fire -
we’ll sweep the ash,
wash the dogs,
water down the porch,
think about church –
won’t go,
the kids and the neighbors –
won’t call.
We’ll probably throw
a bale of hay out for the deer,
some birdseed
for the wild ones,
wonder when they’re going
to get the power back up
and wait for the smoke to settle.
We’ll think about how quiet it gets
without leaves...
it’s always quiet
without leaves...
Catching Knives with Your Teeth
Kissing her
was like catching knives
with your teeth.

I knew
it is just a matter of time
before someone was hurt.

And when I thought
I had mastered the game
she stopped,
           wiped her lip,

with one finger,

and said,
           “I think you’re bleeding.”
Talking to Crows
Up at the Shores
it’s ravens,
Snyder says
they’re over by
his place too.
Down where I’m at
it’s crows.

They used to
hang out in the yard
until the shooting.
Now they’re
down at the park.

They say the crow
is the only creature,
free or domestic,
that will run
to the sound
of a gunshot –
looking for whatever
death may have left
a pleasure
some of us
once enjoyed
too –
It’s just sport,
hoping to get there
before the blood runs out;
mixing it up,
getting in
the middle of it,
letting the adrenalin
push the senses
to breathlessness.

Those days are gone.
Now, on the warm mornings
I go to the park,
feed the crows,
we talk.
All we seem to agree on
is that
neither of us
will ever be
that wild
Living Easy
Gave up the booze,
just smoke dope
I like the stuff
the Mexicans grow.
It takes you places,
The doctor
wrote a prescription,
said it's a good thing
to have
when you're medicating
with angels.
A Postcard from Mexico
I heard you quit your job
and went to Mexico
to stay with Ellen and Diane.
I was hoping to hear from you,
maybe just a card.

I went by your mom's
and asked about you,
she said you told her
it still hurts,
but that it's warm down there
and you're working on your tan.
She said,
you met a guy named Carlos,
from San Diego
and that it might work
but if it doesn't,
it doesn't matter.
She said,
"He's just
what you need –

Let me know
the next time
you're passing through.
I'll buy you lunch:
I always liked watching you
mess with your chopsticks
and licking the sticky
from your fingers.

Yeah, I still think about you –
a lot
and miss you –
So if you're free
maybe you can just
drop a card;
they still deliver
from Mexico,
don't they?
The Emergency of Passion
are good,
is best,
buttons, hooks and clips
are a poor choice,
but if it gets down to it –
the emergency of passion
the restraint of reason,
just tear
and lick.
The Complacency of Fools
They don’t
the way they
should –
not realizing
that age
has only
made us
look safe...
A Good Place to Bite
I always liked
the soft part
of the thigh;
the inside,
just below
where the leg
and the body
come together.
It's a good place
to start
when considering
the tender meat.
Various forms of the above poems have previously appeared in, or been published by: Roxy, The Rattlesnake Review, Medusa's Kitchen, The Tule Review, The Rose of Sharon's Press, To Run With The Savages, The Sacramento News & Review , The Mysterious Woman Next Door and the Huffington Post.