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
by the 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
some very personal questions.
I would love some
Percocet. Nothing. Nothing. A pigeon.
Its foot. Nothing.
This is really intelligent
like "slutting it up" in my twenties. I watch
shafts of light slant through the trees.
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 Tuesday.
Can we get some mirrors in here?
Even 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 fundamental.
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!
is 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 beds.
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