Hey Pulp Babes! It’s Essine, the Pulp poetry editor, and this month’s Late Night Poetry Club theme is Present! This theme seems to relate heavily to holidays and gifts; but more than just gifts, Present means a lot of different things to me. It can mean the now, the current. It can mean being present, feeling here, feeling in the moment. It can mean the exact opposite of that– a lack of presence, a missing presence. Whether it relies on a gift or recognizing how a presence is missing, I find that Present is particularly easy to relate to in the month of December. My days this month have swung from opposites quite rapidly; sometimes I feel absolutely here, and other times I feel I’m missing someone’s presence, or my own. I asked readers and staff to send in their interpretations of this theme and feeling, and here are their amazing poems based on it. Enjoy! – xoxo, Essine
Time is Growing In You
where do you exist if not inside
every single bad thing that has ever
happened to your body while your self
watched, thinking, this is not good but at least
it’s not happening to me?
existing entirely in the moment seems
like hell to me, but what do I know
about anything except constantly
breathing in air that smells
like fertilizer in the small
courtyard behind your grandparents’
house, with only one faucet of
running water and every person who
has lived and died there is with you
but you are countries, oceans, millennia
the present is a choice you are
waiting to make, weighing the options
before picking the best moment to stop,
to lie down and grow into your memories,
becoming more and more full with every day
already growing in you.
Midnight Thoughts of the Present
Euphonious silence cover us in white, cold matter.A night so dark, I’m left to wonder: if we could see in it as plainly as we see in daylight, could it
be less fighting?
Would words mean something more or still be empty, groggy whimpers?
Put out the cigarette and continue walking, this is not a good venue to venture.
If there was no darkness masking our vulnerability, would we be less likely to fall for loneliness’
Put out that joint and go to sleep, no need to burden yourself more.
I wish I had the same motivation as actors have in movies.
Open a bottle of Sweet Leaf Ice Tea, read the message on the lid “Don’t just stand there, do
I’d get up, pack my bags and leave.
No looks back
I’ll leave for good.
But life isn’t like Crossroads.
I’m not Britney Spears
And there’s no karaoke completion that could save me money-wise.
A beautiful redheaded angel walks up to her.
A cigarette behind the ear, striped socks matching the collared shirt, and freckles that spread across more geography than her own freckled landscape.
With a nod of over-assumed acknowledgment and confidence the redhead released, “The darkness in me and darkness in you have a gentlemen’s agreement.”
Her right eyebrow slowly went up in an arch as her wide eyes stared, longer than expected.
Replying, like a song, “My darkness is not gentle nor man.”
She turns to the doorway with the stuffed moose head above it and walks through the frame,
Thinking: I reek of self-indulgence. These interactions are an obvious stunt in my tour de force in dismantling flirtation.
The redheaded angel appears at the nearest corner towards her destination and the sight foreshadows.
“I think there is something of mine that you have then.”
i just noticed i don’t see you anymore
the way i miss people
is a kind of funny and a little ridiculous;
it keeps it’s clowniness locked away until somehow you come back to me,
glittered and divine.
it might be in a dream,
a parted glance on concrete,
a facebook profile picture juxtaposed against my loneliness—
you are a ridiculous flooding in my eyes and i recall when you held my hand on the fair ride (and it was always platonic, occasional best friend, up till one talk, which was more special, too)
and my mother mentions your name because she saw you at the chiropractor
this is when the clowniness comes in:
i left you in december so sure of myself,
and now i’m thinking of facebook chatting with you
my rejection against your rejection—
even when i was left with the wound,
tearing it open
is something my memory
is asking me to do.
The earth gave rich smells as my steps expose damp dirt
under the graveyard of skeleton trees
I am absorbing energy through the soles of my feet
There is something electrifying about the cold that makes
my skin crawl and my hair stand on end
Often when I’m alone I’ll take off all my clothes and lay on
the cold tile
Close my eyes and feel my skin slowly tighten
It didn’t matter how cold, I liked feeling something
Something to make me wake up
Something to make me feel connected in a world that
never seemed to get as cold as I was numb
i try to remind
myself of the importance
of texture since
it can be recognized
in the dark unlike
it is raining and winding
and there has only been
one bird chirping all along
and that bird must be
either crazed or courageous
to be speaking in the storm
and i am daydreaming about
those huge arms that you have
and your soft delicious torso
and oh god
i bet if i buried my face
in it and snaked my hands
around to your lower back
grabbing at handfuls of your scars
that i would smell vanilla
and that is why i like the dark
i can put my eyes on mute
and focus on pressing more loveliness
into your already bountiful loveliness
and oh god
there are hardly any words
to describe you in a way
that would not be
why don’t we just stand back
to back and take ten paces
forward then turn
to find that we moved
in the same direction