Angie Mazakis

To the Poems that Got Away

Dear Aloof Poems,

I apologize, first off,
for the mass poem.
I realize that this is an impersonal way
to address all of you.
It’s the easiest way, however,
to release you at once, and
I wanted to acknowledge you
in writing, before, like memory,
like a camera flash,
you soften, fall to pieces,
and disappear.

It’s been both our faults.

You’ve been hovering
in the ephemeral, on the verge
of becoming something more
but always retreating, before I could
really make out what you were
trying to say. I admit, however, that I
kept you isolated in transition.
I was entertained by new ideas,
taken with their novelty.
I moved to the suburbs.
I let sleep come as the truest remnants
of you slipped away,
all the while never truly willing
to surrender you completely,
keeping you uncomfortably scattered,
stray portions of you trailing
everywhere I go.

For example, Poem-Set-in-Palau-About-
“Tuna”, you were always good to remind me
however incompletely,
of my naïve abandon, recalling “Tuna”,
his white ponytail and his incoherent speech, and how
I would sit next to him on the curb sometimes
on the streets of Palau, the trees all wearing
hibiscus and plumeria leis,
as though someone had just graduated,
or married, or returned home.
(And now I’ve used that line, which
I always wanted to use.)
You might have made a celebrated, understated
turn when you revealed that I took
new roads after I found out that “Tuna”
had stabbed someone in the stomach.

Had I the accurate recollection
of detail to find in you something more
than your shaggy, rare appearance―
think of where we might have gone.
Keep in touch.

And you, Poem-About-the-Hitchhiker-My-Dad-Invited-
my favorite line you would have said would have been,
“You think I’m scared of that little gun? I’m from Beirut.”
Who would have believed us?

I’ll miss your pulses of irresolution,
how you insisted that I rummage
and sift and the way you persisted,
stirring lightly behind my ordinary
thoughts with a playful shyness.
I felt a fluttering on my skin
and then looked in every direction
for what had just swept by me.

I extend a farewell to you,
I-Never-Knew, Poem-About-the-Fires-in-Venezuela-
and all you sensitive, frail love poems that made way
for failure poems.
I tried too hard.
I wanted everything.

Poem's Score: 0.2

Angie Mazakis's poems have appeared in The New Republic, Boston Review, Narrative Magazine, Best New Poets 2008, New Ohio Review, Smartish Pace, Drunken Boat, NOÖ Weekly, and Miracle Monocle.


For July 2013,
Everyday Genius is pleased to present poems that were rated below 0.4 on the "Poetry Assessor"—a tool that "is designed to determine whether a poem has the characteristics of a professional poem, or, alternatively, an amateur poem.
We publish the poems here, with their scores, not to confirm the Assessor's judgment, but to allow human readers to decide for themselves.

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