UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY


DEREK RICHARDS

i should be outside

discontentment chews thick and slow of bite.
prefers the seasoning
of lazy
afternoon.
you're too thin
she whispers
red and bruised beneath the eyes

i explain
i hate sleeping
without the benefit of a coma.

she grunts shallow against the windows.
children are playing outside
in the park
and a small voice says
i should be outside playing too
but i miss things,
like destinations,
saltwater,
like you.

so i write as an old piano,
snarling
and out of tune.
not in tune with the way
things work
when nothing works.

hurry up
she consoles
you're wasting too much damn time
clocks frustrate me
women frustrate me
sobriety frustrates me

i've tied a perfect noose around my thoughts.
she warns of poisoned promises
and thick
dead summer.

i can only wish
to be outside playing in the park.
i wish i could.
but i would only feel lonely, now,
and out of breath.


about a kitchen and not much else

stale bread mimics the verses in my gut
wood-green with black crust
on the edge of crumble
waiting for an infection

rodents nibble and shit on the counter
barely missing the coffee-spoon
on this night my song discards refrain
rambles like murderous jazz

chord-stained-wrong are my fingers
thick and indecisive
tap-water adequate with a hint of rust
you sleep within your familiar hiss

i know your thighs will feel like hard miles
your breath will talk of regret
the hunger of ailing questions
all this desperation fits inside the solo

the cracks between bread slices
the iris of the evening rats
apologizing now would be like carving moonight
a waste of knife and calories

and so another songwriter dies in the kitchen
another lover abandoned by burden
their will a flush of pills
a flutter of soul

an obituary of verse chorus verse chorus
black handshakes feasting on crumbs
last words, careless noise
and the sting of bleach


worry the bones, simon buckley

dear mother cancels the cable
when rain is forecast
five straight days
bakes the family parakeet with garlic and onions
anticipating your brothers funeral
any day now

there is a sad disco song
pretending to be a trampoline
in your fragile skull
it drips from your sisters room
like razors from balconies
three weeks ago you caught a glimpse
pink pajamas and potato chips

the dog runs from you
two years of stealing his bones
poisoning his water with murky depression
growls when you flush the toilet
hisses when you masturbate
the whole house seems to hiss these days
the white roses in the refrigerator
bloom beside rancid cider
anticipation for your brothers funeral

your guidance counselor left a voice mail
applauding your decision to skip college
and join the local union
i think it's a good move, simon,
i believe it is a good time for you to stop thinking
your mother leaves notes
the dog will die she writes
here are the details
and if you ever see your sister
tell her she's next

your doctor has prescribed you a different pill
blunt yellow and beetle shaped
they shake your teeth
and stretch your eyes
now you're not so anxious when you ejaculate
and milk tastes better
so worry the bones, simon buckley,
your best black suit is waiting
anticipation for your brothers funeral
any day now


After performing for years, as both a musician and poet, in and around the Boston area, Derek Richards has recently decided to begin submitting his work for publication. So far he has been accepted for publication in Ghoti Magazine, Lung, MediaVirus, Alpha Beat Soup, Word Riot, Right Hand Pointing, Tinfoildresses and The Legendary. His poetry aims to be direct and honest, brilliant and lucrative.. He is currently residing in Gloucester, Mass., happily engaged and cleaning windows for a living.







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