Carrie Oeding: Reading at 7pm at IU South Bend

by | Sep 21, 2011 | Blog, Literary Scene

Those Women Are Laughing

Sorry Susanna,
we’ve already worn the red dress
tight, yes, without a slip,
once with the zipper broken,
to a wedding and to our birthday,
where, yes, we ate the cake with our hands.
We ate the dress.
We wore it as if we had a secret,
over and over and Friday and Sunday,
until, silly Susanna, there never was a dress.

Sorry, we’ve already demanded
the cake and the gun and the empty room.
But go ahead and say it
if you think you can pretend.
We’ve always been loud.

Sorry Susanna,
we’ve already slept with him, each one of us,
and told him, “There won’t be anyone
‘like me,’ ‘like me,’ ‘like me,’”
and walked away refusing to make him better,
you’re not the first one. Yes,
aren’t we just something.

Do you whisper, I can do this better,
Susanna? Funny how we knew that.
We’ve already done better.
We’ve already seen you, Susanna.
Yes, and? We see you.

But I’m different.
Yep, we’ve said that. Made that true. It is true.

Oh, we’ve done that too, yes,
been true, been right, been dead once or twice,
yes we’ve even died and come back
in the red dress they buried us in.

Yes, go if you want.
We’ll understand, we already do.
We are loud, we can be.
That is nothing new.
We realize how funny we are, how loud, how we talk
sleep, wash, aim.
Or, yes you can stay and wait and laugh. What comes
is always better than before, sure.
Someone will come who can make us laugh.
It’s a shame she will be just like you, like you, like you.

Apology to Meditation

The meditation teacher said he wants to leave you alone with me. There should be no third party between me and “existence.”

The meditation teacher said I would soon understand the nature of the mind rather than fight with it. He winked at me then, a bit creepy. I’ll be honest, he really didn’t, but it’s my nature to say quick things to try and make it interesting. Winking is totally predictable.

My friend Jen would like to get to know you because she wants to stay in the moment.

I don’t want to get into it with her, but there could be a moment of a bright autumn tree, or a bright autumn tree that leads me to notice crows, cats, dents in my car, cars on my cat, leaves shaped like cats, the world is cruel. And then it’s not– bright autumn trees that come alive and wink. Or trees which then, suddenly, suddenly suddenly I notice then what happens next? Looking looking where’s the moment I’m in? Bright autumn trees that don’t notice me.

I’m not going back to class to find out how to look at a leaf or who really winked.

I got to know someone once and it led to third parties.

Dear bright autumn trees, surprise me.

Dear meditation, I’m sorry, I know I am getting you all wrong– but now you know how a person can feel and why they wouldn’t want to let that go.

Neighbor Curse

Thanks for never using the garden tools
I loaned you, which you never returned.
I’ve been watching.
You won’t have any tomatoes this summer.

Thanks for being so nice to my dog.
I saw you slip her treats
so one of us would like you.

Thanks for having no tomatoes this summer.
I would’ve trained my dog to eat them.

Even though you don’t have a wife
for my wife to know, thanks
for getting to know my wife.
I know you’ll try to have her
slip off her useless garden clogs
and walk a little softer on your floors.

A lot, a lot of thanks–
I won’t have any tomatoes this summer.

Thank you– for I trust myself. I had a hunch about you,
and loaned you the garden tools
so you’d prove me right.

When the Neighborhood’s Asleep

He doesn’t look up
because he can’t without thinking
those stars,
they’re going to fall.
But when he walks through the neighborhood
he likes to know they’re up there,
and it’s possibly they could plummet,
but more possible if
he were to look.

A Refrain, Sung Once, To Herself

One day, I worry, you will tell me
everything I’ve told you.

What do you have to say for yourself?


Did you think I wouldn’t be listening?

I don’t know.

There is a moon born every time I say alone
and tonight its light has left me sore.
I can see my breath, and I wonder about everything–
how I’m going to get home,
how to answer What’s your story?
how to ask you to walk with me.

“Listen, listen,” the moon, my polished child, says, “On your knees.”
I put my ear to the road.
I cut my hand on street glass.
I hear a sigh, I hear a step, I see you
ignoring the shadows, walking towards me.
I couldn’t say just anything.


all from Carrie Oeding’s Our List of Solutions, 42 Miles Press, 2011.