Three Poems - Scott Laudati

my first night back

we were far apart once
but you can hear my heart now
in this chest,
and your hair used to itch
my skin if you didn’t tuck it back
but you’ll never hear about it again
because i left you once
and i learned
to miss everything,
coffee at sunset
and all night sirens up and down
while the pitbulls howled at
newspapers blowing by like
white rabbits taunting them
in the night.
and the coffee fades while the rum kicks
in and all those sounds fade to the periphery
like a television in someone
else's apartment.
and your hair crawls across my chest
like the tiny arms of a friendly spider.
you always knew what you had
but it took me a little longer.
there’s no escape in my forever now
our bones can grow soft in peace.
and that future we always talked about
can’t come soon enough

Everyone Hates You

everyone hates you.
even if you haven’t figured it out yet
dont worry
you will.
it’ll be the confirmation of your biggest fears.
your father saw something better
your readers thought there
was promise.
but they were wrong.
anyone who has ever believed in anything is wrong.
even after you put your grandfather in the ground
after the speech about how you used to sail around
the swamps of eastern maryland
and put chicken in crab traps
to see what kinds of turtles swam in for the flesh
you’ll be wrong.
about how he was your hero once.
you were wrong.
and then your aunt will find his diary
and you’ll read that he was like everyone else.
that he thought you were born with all the promise
and yet you wasted it
on a stupid major
on the women you followed like a new gospel
and all the forgotten words in your notebook
that never amounted to a decent novel,
that you would fall further
than your privilege should’ve allowed.
and you’ll think about your appetite
and how it far exceeded your talent.
and you won’t fight back
because you’ll know
he was right.

the dream is over pt. II

it was so easy once.
i never had to hunch over the keys
to pull something out
words just appeared
and the second hand clicked
as i lay on my back
and put onto paper
any good word that came through.
like throwing darts at a wall
like playing william tell
and if you do this long enough
no matter how bad it starts
eventually you hit a bullseye.

but they don’t come so easy now.
you see, love lived here once
in these keys
on that paper
in the dark corners of the classroom
i faded in to as the stories
rolled out from the weekend
from the bleachers
from the diners over
cherry cokes and disco fries.
the rain fell like blue yarn that fall
and the sun never felt good either.
i wrote you a poem
about an umbrella i had
whose stem was carved to a duck head.
but it was homecoming weekend
the game sold out
and they raffled off a new bicycle at half-time
while the sophomores took turns under the bleachers.

the rain turned to ice on saturday.
my priest sang a homily sunday.

then it was monday again.

i listened in homeroom while horrible lips
smiled over the weekend.

you took a vow of silence
too bad they never did

Scott Laudati lives in New York City with his turtle, Tango. He is the author of books Play The Devil (novel) and Hawaiian Shirts In The Electric Chair (poems).  Visit him on instagram @scottlaudati