Poems and Texts

5 Poems by Claire Becker

By My Tongue

I live a day.
I don’t say anything.

I depend on,
don’t know how

to depend on.
I want to know I can

not have to.
I want to say everything

as if
I’m getting paid for this

stranger on the road.

But I like to do it anyway.
But I like to do it anyway.

I live a minute,
in that way

all others
unfolded inside.

The Werld

Enjoy your coffee,
white guy, I say after we smile.

I see all the babies
in stomachs and strollers,

the toddlers on scooters,
in helmets. You’re negative.

I forget to leave
the couch this morning.

I find my empty,
ugly notebooks,

get all the ugliness
out and give it as gifts

to other people.
You’re ugliness in my life

but the lack of you.
Wandering about

the unknown’s kind of beautiful,
kind of laughable

unless it’s you wondering
then it’s scary.

The man yells
in the dog park,

How do I get out of here?
Yells, Go fuck yourself.

Turning around,
furthering the sound of the echoing.

Twenty Eight

I’m out of touch.
I walk and touch
the soft shirts, felt hats.

You brush your hand
across my back
and leave a piece of it.

that makes nothing happen.
Black and orange for the game.

I want to be you
with a hand so natural.
Put my hand

provisionally on your back.
Just try, just put it
down, then we’ll fix it.

You get out to head
to the game. I look out
into a car.

Black swirl of hair.
I don’t know
eyes are there

but stare.
When I leave work,
I should go home,

take care. That’s where
people are.

As One Semi-Afloat

I whine inside as you
whine at my shower.

I’ll leave the house
with a white hair on my sock,

so it catches up.
Months change to months.

I’ll take your little hands in mine
and rate my summer,

sir. I’m less like her.
I’ll hold you good.

Come over and stare with me
to make some decisions.

I’ll turn you
while the clock snakes,

tuck your head
under your paw.

Pity’s the way
into relationships and motherhood.

I’ll walk down the leafy street
for a drink

and sit. Leaves,
wide street

with paint stores on it. I stake

on the perfect triangle
of streets,

traffic lights keeping the traffic slow.
If you don’t know, you don’t

deserve to know
how, how

I’m doing the same thing, haven’t
let go yet.

I’ll put my head
over it and bag my head.

Flaneur, Voyeur

I’m exclaiming,
I love to ride a bike.

He’s exclaiming it below
on the street, through the cement blockade

between the trees.
High in the flat part,

I’m opening windows
with my whole body,

then hanging curtains
to break the sun.

Each morning, the dog swears.
Each good memory,

you tell until it spills in the air.
On the sidewalk,

he lifts our trays
from old ironing boards.

Why do we walk down the street?
The street’s for trash going down

gutters. Why do I change and love
garbage and gutters?

Claire Becker

Claire Becker lives in Oakland and teaches in the high school mainstream program at the California School for the Blind. She co-edits the email/web journal RealPoetik with Lily Brown. Her e-chap Get You is available through Duration Press, and her first book, Where We Think It Should Go, is forthcoming from Octopus Books.