Monday 11 November 2019

5 Poems by Lee Gould

The Photographer of Empty Lots

Darkness masks what

moves around his walls,

the room, the unexpected


as though cut in rock

most of us avoid –

Is this where his Cyclops

sleeps, twisted

in that oversized sheet?

is that his cot?

there his empty food packets?

forks, spoons?

Suppose the photographer adjusted

the light?  Lifted the shades?

Would he find his old Leica,

his light meter, his keys?


I  feel             untied             tried

as in put upon

but     more                loosened from

        as though I were

only partly   

          invited in…                   

Or inverted:

            put upside down,

                        in the opposite position

back to front

as if I were

somewhere else

but not

                        firmly   so

when you talk to me


I’m working

I start        pulsing     

     as though    counting,

then a lurch –

it’s not my stop            but

a loop de loop,

a  trick             pilots in old days

prided themselves on

which must have caused


at least mentally;

how come

the co-pilot didn’t        fall out      which

at moments like these             feels 

exactly like that.

First published in  La Presa, Issue 2, April 2017

The Last Year

I can’t say I was hungry my mother said,

cackling lasciviously,

her little sandwiches—

appetite enhancers, the nurse confided

you couldn’t enter her room

without at least half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich

If you stood in the doorway empty-handed,

she’d point hungrily:

What do you have for me in that pocket?

her new fleshiness

encircled her

as though she were sitting

in a lake of herself

I can’t tell you the emptiness I felt,

yet charmed by what her tongue could bring

she lived happily.


Touch Me Not

If it isn’t perfect, it’s nothing -

by it I mean he or she

although sometimes when, sometimes where.

A silencer comes with my weapon,

and when I unholster, line up my shot,

fire – I disappear just like that,

the lovely orange in the little Christmas house –

only I’m still there, but with something

up my sleeve which is Goodbye.


I clothe you in an airy sheath, adhere

to your glossy surfaces, shade you, cozy you

under the hot sun. At last, you think

you’re getting the hang of it,

the give and take

of life, but make no mistake, when you

look about, the you you see

in stretchy unfolding, the curves

you didn’t know you had: flexible, reaching – you

in all your agency is me, and I’m hungry.


The crevices you try to hide

I admire, nestle into, blossom.

How sturdy you are, how I flutter

in your shadow.  Is my attention flattering?

My leafy attractions? In moonlight you gleam;

I darken, wither, but each day, as you hold me,

I grow. My roots thicken in you. I become

your extremities, the fingers, the dancing feet

or more accurately your glittering fringes.

In time, I’ll spread myself over you:

your masonry, your ledges and openings,

even as you crumble, I’ll hold you.

                         Plants was first published in La Presa, Issue 1, January, 2017


I still taste those years:

wooden with bronze pulls, you

staring at my oversized cushions,

a script I didn’t plan to interpret.

I wandered in fog,

the impressionist painting of my cataract days.

Why does memory bathe itself?

Astounded, sated, spooked?

The old furniture, those broken drawers,

the put-one-over smile as you fingered the knobs,

sizing up the ersatz jade, the scrapped Formica.

You a nuisance who drank a little, me pouring.


Lee Gould, the editor of La Presa, a bilingual journal published three times annually is also a poet, translator and reviewer,.  Her poems and reviews have appeared in journals such as Quarterly West, the Berkshire REview, Magma, Passager and others as well as anthologies in the US, England and Canada. Her chapbook Weeds was published in 2010.  She lives in Guanajuato, MExico.

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