Monday 18 February 2013

3 Poems by Thaddeus Rutkowski


Looking for migrating butterflies,
I see two clusters of vultures
circling around carrion
or an animal that’s about to be carrion.

About 80 miles in from the coast,
I see one, then two, then three monarchs
flying from north to south.

The butterflies remind me
of when I stood outside in a childhood yard
and watched dozens of them float past
on their way to Mexico.

Which group is stronger,
and which will come for me?
The butterflies or the vultures?


Not much fun to be working in the tunnel,
when you could be on the train,
heading somewhere interesting, like Far Rockaway,
a place you’ve never been.

But here you are, supervising guys in Day-Glo vests,
directing them because you are the engineer.
You are the one who builds the tracks
and makes the trains run on schedule.

You get so bored you sit on a rail,
prop your chin on your hand, and fall asleep …
until you hear the blast of a horn in your ear
and see the glaring headlight of a waiting train.

The motorman leans out his small window
and yells, “You’re on the wrong track!”
And you see how close you’ve come to oblivion
by resting yourself on the railroad to perdition.


Jim Chu
moves our bed.

Can’t be
Wong. Feels White.

empty. Birds
flew to school.


Thaddeus Rutkowski is the author of the innovative novels Haywire, Tetched and Roughhouse. He teaches at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and at the Writer's Voice of the West Side YMCA in Manhattan. He was awarded a 2012 fellowship in fiction writing from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

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