I put on my noise-cancelling headphones.
Silence makes my bedroom bigger:
A planet where I am the core.
The city is a distant star.
I remember a word I do not know.
I look it up in my e-dictionary:
A literal quasar is my figurative lodestar.
The city is an asterisk (star, 2nd def.).
Funny that I can minimize a window.
Dog Eat Dog
The mall has secret tunnels
that lead to other parts of the mall. Meet me
solar-powered trash compactor.
I get off on being
young. I am older
Am I "Goin' to Acapulco"?
White guilt is unhelpful.
I traded In Utero
for 26 oz. of Bombay Sapphire.
I was young, I lived in a Doggy Dog world.
are renovating the imitation.
Inside of me
is another me
asking for more money. A band called Suuns
and a band called Sunn O))).
There's a bottle of vodka
in the basement. The optometrist asked Monica
very personal questions.
I would love some
Nothing. Nothing. A pigeon.
Its foot. Nothing.
is really intelligent
like "slutting it up" in my twenties. I watch
shafts of light slant through the
I watch a fly struggle to escape from a web
and come up with a good analogy
for getting into an argument on Facebook.
How much money
do I need?
That fruit plate is stunning.
Town of Mount Royal
The laundry machine is on
and it's raining. That's the New Balance
shoe I was talking about.
What separates one building from another
is out of the office until
Can we get some mirrors in here?
three differently shaped bowls
on a tray can herald the tinsel train.
Going outside is the only way
to have anything interesting to say
about interior design.
That experience was a sphere
and not a ladder was
Hey, c'mon, we've got to finish this pineapple.
Lessons in perspective taught lineation
how to say please and thank you.
The bull of the electric socket.
accidentally made a bouquet
of yard clippings.
And But So Yeah!
my favourite DFW cover band.
I integrated the community spirit
of the commercial into my personality.
You are my ninth grade boyfriend
sleeping like sunlight in my nail
I can't even.
-from Cheer Up, Jay Ritchie, Coach House Books (2017), selected by Guest Editor Ocean Vuong
BIO: Jay Ritchie is the author of the poetry collection Cheer Up, Jay Ritchie (Coach
House, 2017). He is pursuing an MFA in Poetry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
PROMPT: Ritchie's work is grounded in unexpected
juxtapositions, between observation and pop culture, between personal and commercial interests. Using this perspective as
a guide, let's get a little crafty. Take two poems you're working on, about seemingly unrelated topics. Cut up the lines (or
cut and paste in a word processor), alternating lines between Poem A and Poem B. Once you've done this, feel free to tinker,
making connections between the lines or loosening those connections to bring you to your own unexpected juxtapositions. -Amie
Whittemore, Associate Editor