top of page

Two poems by Paul Siegell

Refresher. (For Warren Longmire)

Someone called their mindfulness

a “glass-bottomed suspension bridge,”

so in that land I stood a ladder.


Somewhere above the loud uncertainty

of being lullabied

by our great nation of facepalms,

something like the archived field recordings

of recently extinct North American birds.


Sometimes I less-than-better sounding

say such gems as: “I’m just a bag of me.

Skewer me

and I won’t be.”


Somehow young and jumping up and down,

mischief in

the yellow school bus back

as the driver breaks to lift you up and

off the speed bumps

is that which is connecting us right now.


In some ways, emoji ways, the three dark

holes of a bowling ball, the dotted sides of

a die, and the coal of a snowman.


Someday our beloved cigarette smokers

will stop flicking their damn cigarette butts

into the street.


Sometimes I thrive in the spirit of not being

the brightest star in the shy.

Well, somewhat.

Somebody just asked, “When was the last

time you did a somersault?” And I said,

“Actually, hasn’t been that long at all.”

However. ("To Telescope in Striking Spectacle")

A soft jolt, twiced. Overheard: “I can’t come up with a

word I don’t know.” And I’m like, sure you can, typo, and

then I sip another hit a-this Sioux City Sarsaparilla. A soft

jolt, it’s slightly sci-fi satisfying: tinetieth. It astronauts my

tongue and synagogues my throat like an extraterrestrial

octopus celebrating its winnings at the slot machines. Yep,

it’s been a minute since I’ve drawn something that didn’t

involve words, but that works most times, so let us pray.

On the corner of South and American Streets, between the 2

and the 3, an ice cream cone from Häagen-Dazs, the wrapper

says, is stuck in the grates of a storm drain, vanilla dripping

into. Paces forward, I pass and catch a snippet: “Darn it!” a

mom instructs her son. “We don’t say damn. We say darn it.”

Its echo acrobats in me like a decadent panic of champagne:

[drumsticks counting in] Take the ‘n’ from the ‘m’ for an ‘r’

to get ‘darn’ from the ‘damn’ and understand, young man—

Nothing beats the story of the guy who kept six-feet-long,

flesh-eating monitor lizards in his apartment. He sawed holes

in his doorways so they could roam, but after he hadn’t been

seen since Sunday, police entered at the request of his family

and found him on the floor: dunzo. “They did a considerable

amount of damage to this gentleman’s face,” said John Cald-

well of the Delaware SPCA. Along with hissing Madagascar

roaches, authorities also found his pet cat, meowing and spry.

And I’ve found it worth it to keep the cosmos close, so when

a schoolgirl stands her bike along 12th and Washington’s row

of U-Haul trucks and I see her study each vehicle’s “Did You

Know”: the imposing pink wonderland of the 37-acre fungus

on the Michigan truck / the feral bouquet of Canadian snakes

on Manitoba’s / and New Mexico’s Roswell-wrecked extra-

terrestrial reaching out to her with “Where Will U Go Next?”

I realize: that’s all the awe I’ll need for the day, so, I’m good.

Paul Siegell is Pennsylvania’s 2021 Montgomery County Poet Laureate and the author of The Tongue They Shared (Moonstone Press, 2021), Take Out Delivery (Spuyten Duyvil, 2018), wild life rifle fire (Otoliths, 2010), jambandbootleg (A-Head, 2009) and Poemergency Room (Otoliths, 2008). He has contributed to American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Rattle, Sixth Finch, and many other fine journals. Kindly find more of his work at ReVeLeR @ eYeLeVeL (

Recent Posts

See All

Two poems by Mckendy Fils-Aimé

sipèstisyon If people say your child is beautiful, your child will become ugly. ok, i confess. once, i said fuck you to danny perkins on the last day of kindergarten after a miserable year of being pu

"Dead Things" by Beth Boylan

I feel compelled to pick up the baby bird that has died just outside my doorstep this morning. Place her in my hand and rub her toothpick ribs with my thumb. Gently kiss the milky-blue bulbs of her ey

Two poems by Daniel Edward Moore

Hey, Future is that you / in the moment / a Buddhist might love / enough to hyperventilate / or the day’s dizzy spin /of 24 hours / kicking joy / to the curbs / of chaos / blessed by Hallmark’s / squa


bottom of page