divine magnet





Ted Powers


I’ve Loved You, So Long

You are a dead man’s phone

and I am calling that phone.

You are the busy signal

and I am confused. You are

a to-be-continued dream

and I am wanting to continue.

I am coffee. You are steam

when it rises to where we

cannot see it. I’m the roof.

You’re the ceiling. How else

to say it. I am September 21, 2009

and you are September 23, 1884.

A day later you were a pair of shoes

tied together by their laces

and I dreamed of walking

though I hadn't been built yet.

But when I was I was power lines.

Then you were power lines and I was

the silhouette of power lines

and you were the silhouette of power lines

with two birds walking on a wire.

They are headed toward each other

and they do not know what they will say

when they meet.


Washed on the Way Back

Then I died but didn’t

notice. Life went on

as it had except smells

got crossed out for me

even up close.

A poem would start

and I’d think wait

am I started already?

It was like remembering

a time all the time.

I kept using my phone

but less. The sun

was more fluorescence.

Most of the dreams

for my next life had

been turned too tight

and tossed aside in

the mud of some other

ending’s adventure. I wrote

the pages blank. I aged.

For a while that’s all I did.


The Reattachment Manifesto

The history of poetry is in books. No getting around it.

I spend most of my time sitting in one room or another.

Weather must work for my attention. No getting around that either.

What do the birds think about this? It isn’t clear. And I can’t just ask.

They sit in a tree outside the room and chirp, a reminder

that ‘an environment destroys you until you create it’

is a useful illusion to believe in. If conversation is pushing

words into the world to prolong closure and its yawning face

then I am glad to be in a room with people. If the room

has held a lexicographer and a wolf’s head, even if they were

never present at the same moment, that is still something

to take under careful consideration.

If it is forbidden to know what you plan on writing

then I am succeeding right now, in this very moment

I am playing soccer with the ocean.

So it follows that one cannot ask

what the sky feels like to a window.

One must invite another inside. One must reach

for another’s suitcase. Invited into these rooms

and these books, we must paint their ceilings

before we steal the crane, the kind

with a wrecking ball. Or maybe

a good night’s sleep will change all this.


The Box Arrived in the Mail

It had no return address, just a drawing

of a human heart. I placed it, brown and

unextraordinary, on the table and tried to

open it but it flaps were covered in tape.

I peeled away the tape. Under the tape

was more tape. Under that, more tape.

I dug out some scissors and slid them

along the sides of the box without finding

a crease. I tried a knife. The box broke

my knife. It bent my pliers. A crack shivered

through the handle of my hammer. My

shovel’s head dented in. I tried scissors again

then a blowtorch. The box put itself out

and sat unmoved, a blank wall. I fantasized

its death. It stared back, its own religion.

I threw it across the room. The box seemed

undisturbed by my outburst. From the distance

of a room, the drawn heart appeared to

be beating. I got out a larger pair of scissors.

There were people here when I started.


The Famous Captain

I have a life but no direction

It is like a living room with no couch

It is like not playing the guitar

The room is filled with people

forced to stand They shift

their weight from foot to foot

to foot Their knees hurt

The cat that enters the room

is bored by the lack of things to scratch

and turns back down the hallway

Time stretches out

like awful sentences

which I am giving you

examples to choose from

The cat in this metaphor is your vessel

It heads to the stairwell

and there is nothing you can do

At the bottom of the stairs

is the hold of a ship

where I am not the famous captain

I am her parrot

I say one thing and I say it well:

Large flowers grow down here kitty

but don’t be fooled by their color

or their blindness they’ll eat you

kitty and you’ll keep on living