March 9-15, 2002: Todd Heldt and Dave Gitomer

week of March 9-March 15, 2002

Todd Heldt and Dave Gitomer

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Todd Heldt


My poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in sournals as Nightsun, Borderlands, Westview, Birmingham Poetry Review, and Westview I have a BA in English literature from the University of North Texas While there, Scott Cairns interested me in writing poetry Currently, I am attending graduate school in literature at Texas Tech, where I am continuing my practice at verse under the guidance of Bill Wenthe I also serve as the poetry editor of The Spiritual Onion I am 26 years old
Visit Todd’s website and check out his book Nobody’s Dead Here but Us by clicking here:

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by Todd Heldt and may not be distributed or reprinted in any manner whatsover without written permission from the author.

The Last Letter Between Lovers

Did I tell you about the ice cream?
Homemade at my grandparents, farm,
and cooler than water in a drought?
I followed the creek bed, next day,
dry as a lizard’s belly for miles The dog lagged, slunk home
for a drink But I found mud, even water Green vines were boas, squeezing
everything they could I thought,
We need more than dirt:
Two people constructing a home
must know which stones the other lays And there should be wood for a fire,
a bed to sink into, and flannel sheets I shoved a dead stick into the bank,
wrote your name, and walked back,
thinking rain would eventually wash it away Back at the house, I drank a glass of water,
then Grandmother scooped me
a bowl of ice cream too full to finish I needed to share with someone,
for fear of dying in a dry creekbed,
or a house I’d built by myself.

On Stabbing a Man and Being a Good Listener

I stabbed a man once, but not without reason He found me sitting, talking with his wife
on the hood of my car Mostly she talked
about him and I listened I was a good listener,
she said, I didn’t interrupt When he found us
he yelled; she yelled She wasn’t a good listener He broke his beer bottle, held the neck
in his hand, a bouquet of jagged petals I pulled a knife, planted my feet How it happened isn’t really important:
with a raw hole in his stomach, he pitched forward,
wrapped his arms around my waist Not much happened after that He eventually let go His wife cradled his head, glared hard at me He said, I love you I love you Every time I looked back
he would be saying those words,
but she never took her eyes off me.

To Sleep Alone

Stuck to the sheets with sweat,
and looking outside my window,
I watched a car wrap around a tree All night lights flashed
across my walls, danced
a stranger to my bed:
shadows rolled over me,
stroked my face with fluid fingers
One of the clean-up crew
said the woman driving was lucky
she was drunk I wished
I were one of the paramedics,
touching her face like ice,
afraid it would melt in my palms,
or one of the policemen–
anything to bring me closer
Someone told me sleeping alone
is a dress rehearsal for dying So I claimed her as my own She became my mother,
my lover, my twin I lay down
curled in her hair, arms
wrapped around a pillow Later, I heard she lived,

and slept that night in a clean,
white room.

The Woman Above Me

She is the braid of two strangers
kissing under the hotel sign,

a red pulse beating on my blinds,
ankle bells ringing on my ceiling,

and the twirl of a glass
tossed into the fireplace
I find her face at my window,
her arms in empty shirts hanging

from my closet door I steal her body
with my eyes and leave myself

on my stomach as she slides me
into the world of card tricks and love
Last night I heard her playing violin
in the room above mine, so close,

I thought, the strings were my own.


Generations of gatti nestle columns
of the Colosseum, willing to starve–
a good cat can thrive on nothing but night Busted saints ignore the old woman
calling strays She wiles them to her car
with mackerel and cod, but the cats will not accept
her ride I imagine she tries daily, with failure,
and goes home to a lonely supper, a party of one And I wonder if she’s talking to me, asking me over
for gelati, or wanting to teach me Italian,
so we could talk about anything, even the weather My wife is packed in the hotel room, leaving me
a photo album of blank pages,
so I want the old lady to catch that Tabby on the wall
and feed him days of fish and milk If I spoke the language we would make a plan to catch him But I don’t, so I ask another tourist to take my picture When I turn around again, the old lady is waddling
back to her car, the Tabby has disappeared,
and a fish head stares up at me, empty In my scrapbook will be my face in front of that wall On the next page will be my face in front of something else When the book is closed, pages pressed tight, I will kiss myself.

Dave Gitomer


Dave Gitomer lives in Bay Shore, New York and runs the ThoughMonkeys web sites.

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by Dave Gitomer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any manner whatsover without written permission from the author.

Timeless Void, Solidifies

turn back the clock,
spin rounds, reverse polarity regenerate calendar pages,
months and years this errant time,
nebulous to the touch,
impossible to sense,
yet potent shaman,
miracle cure,
of all ills ultimate solution.

The Hudson River

under the bridge,
the waters flow to the sea,
bringing out the accumulations,
cleansing the urban soul,
of the vibrant city flowing, ebbing, swallowing absorbs left bank, right bank,
returning home to the ocean,

After the Rainstorms

finally it stopped raining,
as the deluge ceased at last the dog turned anxious, we needed
to go out,
three days, off was way too much,
I started to think I began to know I was losing .no, not that I had
to walk I must walk in the fog the drive
was uneventful, but spooky, as dense
mists, turned all gray and wet disappearing,
reappearing, no form, or substance,
until immediately up close, the construction
on the bridge continued, mainly detected
the sounds of the machines, ripping the
blocks of what used to be a roadway at last,
the parking lot, luckily the weather was warm
for January among the marsh, lurked deer whose big brown
eyes shone as marbles, with white cotton tails,
bounding, when the dog noticed them, hard for
to detect them in the wet profound silence
licked the drizzle, and the search beacon of
the lighthouse was invisible till way close dense fog, great clarity.

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