Poetry / Poets / Writers / Writing

3 poems by Ron Riekki

Lille

for Amélie

After dusk, in the apartment,
we whisper that the worst thing
about the men in France
is the sleeping around.
It’s a Latin country,
so people like to play.
In the yellow of the room,
we whisper that the best thing
about the men in France
is that they are romantic.
They do nice things.
They bring you things.
They take you to Brittany
or the south of France,
the Basque Coast,
which is on the west part
on the sea where there’s ocean
and landscape and it’s less packed.
Then we talk about Jack the Ripper
or, as we call him,
Jack L’eventeur, which means
“to open up the belly.”
We talk about being pregnant
and then about serial killers
and none of us can remember
any of their names.
We ask each other if we have forgotten
any ex-boyfriend’s names.
We have. We haven’t.
We have.

 

 

On Men

I returned from the woods
to learn that I was a prisoner
to food. I destroyed a house
and horrified the church.
It was an erotic dance.

I’m right here, naked, alone,
except the baseball cap.

I put my boots in water,
my skirt steaming ships.

I went back in the woods
to forget that I was raped
for food. I built a house
and made it my own church.
It’s an erotic waiting.

 

 

I Ask the Poet for His Top Three Poems of All-Time

and he says he hates lists.

He says the worst thing about America
is the position of Poet Laureate.
He says all poets should live in poverty.

He says all poets should be pets.
He cools off, looks me in the throat
and tells me that the type of person

who makes lists is the type of person
who’d pull the switch
for the electrical chair.

I ask him if he recommends a poetry book,
any poetry book. I tell him that I like to read.
He looks me dead in the hat

and says that if I need recommendations
for books, then I should kill myself
with a pencil. I decide to go for it

and ask him when the hatred started.
He says it was right about the same time
that he started to write. The fan

above our heads, goes around
like those clocks you see
in sci-fi films, diseased with speed.

 

Ron Riekki’s books include U.P. and The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works.

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