WANNA HELP OUT?!
another episode of the podcast is on the way next month. we’re looking for people with podcast/radio/audio experience to help curate and produce our monthly episodes. we’re also actively looking for musicians that would be willing to donate a track for our intro/outro.
interested?shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Rachel Harthcock
I remember Phil saying we should write a list of
all the people who bothered us, whispering over the phone
after the internet had cut out, ending our AIM conversation.
I remember the night we camped out
and I watched him walk into the pines to pee,
then realizing he was the only Polish person I knew.
I remember being in his family’s church
when we picked up the scent of my dad’s cologne
over the communion wine, walking back to the pews,
eyeing the yellow fabric.
And the afternoon he got so high on lased weed
that my sister drove me to pick him up off the ranch road by his parent’s house
and then she dropped us off at the mall
I remember how he was always known for not talking much
and the time he sat back in the theatre hall crying while reading Catcher in the Rye,
later describing the book to me as “aggressively mediocre” turning his face away.
At baseball games his Dad wore a Cubs hat and his Mom talked the entire time.
He disappeared in college and I thought of him
as Bertram from the Sandlot, “getting really lost in the sixties,”
But my mother ran into his at the elementary school choir concert,
he was studying geology, climbing rocks in West Texas.
Last night I was on the corner of the couch in my apartment, hurt by the misgivings of my pomegranate mind, my boyfriend needing a break
to figure out how to love me more
after carrying my skis down the side of a mountain, after pushing my car out the snow, half a mile past the No Outlet sign. His language of placing the heater on my side of the bed, of morning coffee, spliffs, of extra pairs of socks, I might need them.
I’m thinking back on Phil. Those spring nights in the hill country,
talking about the perfect combo of jalapeno cheeseburgers and butterscotch malts
or how it feels to love but not understand how.
I’m getting a hollow feeling today, the temperature up in the 40s
in the most glacial winter of recorded Midwest history
and I remember how I would always start laughing when he would look at me in the eyes,
which was wrong of me and I’d like to apologize for now.
No one deserves to be taken advantage of in these ways.
Rachel Harthcock called us from Detroit, MI.
More about Rachel.
by Christian Wacker
i need to stop thinking of you in terms of bright coffee and the surface; i need to begin thinking of you in terms of tongues on fire and time enough to watch the sun move across its lazy sky. i would like to take this time to proffer a formal and utterly sincere apology for all seven hundred seventy days, but they were preceded by a significant time of practice in regard to my ugly habits. will you see my desire to watch myself in your clear eyes as something that is important? i am cleaner when you hear me and when i look at you we are on a mountain in the middle of europe talking about how wonderful fresh buttermilk truly sounds. we can be a paradise, if you don’t mind.
Christian Wacker called us from Kirksville, MO.
More about Christian.
'High School 101'
by Timmy Reed
Everybody in detention said
“You won’t like this disease
Unless you are doing it correctly.”
I ate the teacher’s underpants
(they were on fire)
Because I was skeptical.
“I refuse to believe in the death of Rock ‘n Roll,”
Barked the coolest girl in school
While we perused the nine-dollar bin
at the gas station
She called “Proof”
Of something else.
“I believe in a future where bands
Don’t even play music because
Isn’t listening to music cool enough?”
It was no time to disagree with her.
Prom was coming up
And I had already
Been left out
Of the suicide pact.
Timmy Reed called us from Baltimore, MD.
More about Timmy.
by Jeannie Yoon
I am learning to walk while loving
Still tripping into the ditches
Astride the rocky road
A clear and searing day
Burns the air thick and heavy
Singing my nose and my atrophying
Tongue turns restless
In its desiccated bed
The TV bitches splayed on the sands
Of Miami or something
Smell like synthetic coconut
I should get up
I get up
I don’t know what to do with you
Or whither to step, how far
This has less to do with who you are
Than six-year-old me appearing alone
In scores of tableaux sheaved
In shelves of memory
Laid out room by room
We lived above a vast cellar
Set off by slate blue paint on the exterior
In whose shade grew violets
And three vain roses
And the milk expired
And the periodic shaving
Of the man’s haired cheek
And the long grass
Was cool in the afternoon.
I did love you, once.
Whatever radiance of that still quivers
Subliminal, through me, is decaying.
Mirrored sunglasses set off
His excellent face, lean and grinning
Some distance angled from mine
Eyes on the road
I blink and so is uncovered
The wide and imperceptible
Spread of things
A good hard look
I have countless simultaneous themes to resolve
Before I conclude, so why
Should I keep you?
I’m up tonight
Squeezing and releasing your waning
Afterimage, dissolving in light
Which is pressed against darkness
I will it to end
My body is an intersection at rest
I am a colony of life
I am a home for death
I am a whetstone for the language
Jeannie Yoon called us from Boston, MA.
More about Jeannie.
it’s officials! we’re on iTunes! subscribe!
along with the week’s poems delivered directly into your earholes, the voicemail poems podcast also features a monthly ‘episode.’ episodes include a rotating group of hosts discussing 3 of their favorite poems according to a theme. there will be poetry, giggles, strange antics, and much more. there will be NO PANTS ALLOWED.
excited to hear your work! <3
by Amanda Oaks
It’s raining your name & five miles back
my windshield wiper eyes gave up on
clearing the way you used to mother me
into thinking that it was okay to love me
like that. It’s raining your name like
the way bones shake when they are
standing in the tallness & balancing
on the hollowed-out surface
of either our love or fear. It’s raining
your name like bomb squad, like
battering ram, like fallout shelter.
It’s raining your name & I want it to be
hymnal. I want it to be like two sets
of legs intertwined inside a sleeping bag
in a covered bed of a pickup truck parked
on a forgotten dirt road. I want it be like
the way the body remembers touch. The way
a smell or a song can jet ski you back 20 years.
It’s raining your name & if it can’t be that,
I’d rather it be volcano ash falling over a town
we just mowed over. I’d rather it be the debris
from the crash between our two airplane hearts
dead-dropping to the ground. It’s raining
your name & I turn slow leak. I turn puddle.
I river. I ocean. I fuckin’ tsunami. You
waterboard. You constant drip. It’s raining
your name & I can’t seem to remember
the way the inside of my head sounds
Amanda Oaks called us from Indiana, PA.
More about Amanda.
yaaaayyy!!!! excited to hear your poem!
by Conor Harris
1. sext: you are a super-dense train accelerating toward the sun and I am the comet you happened to pull out of orbit I will watch you burn then implode and become something that people who live forevers away will look to for answers but all that will be left is your gorgeous broken littering the universe and I will pick up the pieces of you as I make my way to crash into the earth and end all chances for memory or hanging out either of us ever had. choo-choo
2. sext: at my state line there is a bridge between one state and the other and every time I cross is I hold my breath and think of kissing you until the river dries up beneath t and there is no longer a need for a bridge to bring people together between far away places and lines this land is our land so hold my fucking hand already and we can make the landmarks jealous. crumble crumble
3. sext: eat an orange with seeds, kiss me, put the seeds in my mouth, and I will take a vow of silence until I find a perfect coastline where the water crushes the shore gentle, like a stone on your chest that slowly gets heavier; here I’ll spit the seeds out and they will grow and thirty years from now somebody’s children will eat oranges grown from our saliva and our love and this is how we will follow the biological imperative to reproduce
4. fate is not real and neither is the universe and I am not a waste of your time
Conor Harris called us from Boise, ID.
More about Conor.
by May-Lan Tan
I cut my own hair.
I can see in the dark.
I look better naked.
Money doesn’t excite me.
I need more sleep than most other people.
I only take care of the parts of my body that others can see.
I can never tell when someone is joking.
I prefer to eat really delicious food in private.
I’m not scared of death.
I’m scared of being deep in the ground by myself.
If nothing else, I am hygienic.
I always leave without saying goodbye.
If I lived alone I would be like a wild animal.
I’ve never planted something and watched it grow.
May-Lan Tan called us from London, UK.
More about May-Lan.
as Carmindy, the Makeup Artist from What Not to Wear’
by Andrew Campana
Hi gorgeous, how are you!
I’m really excited to work on you—
look at this new hair colour!
It really makes your skin tone just look luminous and amazing.
We’ve got a lot of work to do, though, honey.
What I want to do is even out your skin tone—you have GORGEOUS skin—
I want to highlight the cheekbones, I want to bring in the right bronzer
and we’re also going to do something light on these beautiful lips of yours
which are so pretty.
They’re so pretty.
I’m not going to show any of this to you until it’s all finished
so I’m going to spin you around and we’re going to get started.
This liquid foundation is really light and is going to even out your skin.
It’s made of light and it’s going to even out your skin.
It’s marble dust and mashed pomegranate seeds and Styx-water
and it’s going to even out your skin
even out your skin
even without your skin.
The way to apply bronzer is in a c-formation on the sides of your face
starting at the temple and going right underneath the cheekbones
to make you look as sun-kissed as Icarus.
Start at the temple and descend down, down, down below the bones
just dip the sides of your face in the molten rivers of bronze
like one of Hephaestus’ automata.
and say hi to him for me, by the way
He has GORGEOUS skin.
Ok, we’re going to start off using a chocolate brown pencil on your eyes
because we’re going to make these baby blues really POP
we’re going to make them POP
we’re going to POP
we’re going to POP them
they’re going to POP
we’re going to make them POP
Like overfilled wineskins.
And now we’re going to top off your entire look with a little shimmering lip gloss
just a nice, clear, lip gloss
to brighten up those lips
I recommend something nectar-based
and, of course, a diet rich in ambrosia
for its anti-aging benefits.
It’s an anti-oxidant.
You are beautiful! Sophisticated! Polished!
I’m the Furies and the Graces.
I’m the Gorgons freezing everyone into five-minute faces.
I’m all the Fates rolled into one.
I’m making you all up.
Are you ready?
I’m going to spin you around now.
Andrew Campana called us from Boston, MA.
More about Andrew.
good question! here’s a little peek at the process:
over the past two years we’ve gotten more and more organized at sorting through all the voicemails. BUT we get 1-5 calls a day and john is usually only available to go through them on weekends. so, sometimes things fall through the cracks.
also, poems are often listened to and tabled for later. john tries to focus on having weeks with strong gender parity and plenty of variance in subject matter. some people get published right away. some wind up waiting a bit longer. we do not typically send receipt confirmations. any person who has called but not sent us an email with the text of their poem and their info has an incomplete submission and we don’t have the time to remind them these days.
as always, feel free to email us any time and ask about your poem! have no fear! we don’t bite…… without consent at least. ^ _ ^