Sandra Simonds

To the Reader

I take one last gulp of dark red wine
and think how lucky I am to be down here
among the poets and how amazing it is
that to be a poet one has only simply to walk
into a bar of glittering minerals and genitals
and declare (but very softly) “I am a poet”
and how it is also so difficult to be a poet
since Anne and I have to text each other
the word “yuck” about the poets
who have walked into the bar
and declared themselves poets when they
chop up women in their poems
I don’t like it when a poet
I don’t know comes up to me in a bar
and puts his hand on my shoulder even if
he is drunk I don’t like it when he asks me if he makes
me nervous I am so excited that this is turning
into a revenge poem and ashamed about this also
but it makes me happy that Anne and Whit and Matt and Geoffrey
will know this situation exactly I want to say
No you don’t make me nervous
You’re pissing me off! Get out of my face! Any man
who places his heavy hand on a woman’s
shoulder in a bar who did not ask for it
Is not a poet and down here
among the poets we are burning the most
precious minerals and stones: emeralds, amethysts
gold, copper and we are burning the sullenest
mauve flowers and you should see how they light up
when you torch them they turn into the visions
we have poured wine over these minerals and Katy has made
waffles and Whit texts me that he
has put on his purple cape and our language is like a mine
and our futures are converging on the language
of the sun even though it rains
constantly down here among the poets
and some people will spend thousands
of dollars to taste the air in this cave
of minerals among the poets but no
amount of money can bring you to our
cave because when you pay for an experience
that you could have had just through the simple
declaration “I am a poet” 
then the experience collapses
We have declared sovereignty
on friendship and even the most beautiful selfies
will self- destruct on the eve of November the 8th 2033
My friends and I have walked all day and all night
and a thousand Tahitis and Fijis and cocaine and motorcycles
have fallen very far into our language
and when Whit and I split a room
at the Days Inn and hell tells me “I like dick”
the sun is blasting her radio and no one tells her to shut up
I take one last gulp of wine and think of
you, my reader, endlessly, for you have also
declared yourself a poet and the moon is unbearable
as she should be and love is some impossible confusion
as it should be and I, with this poem, Guillermo, take
Mora’s naked woman down from his friend’s head because she needs
a blanket and some water and no one should have to spend an eternity
on a poet’s head! And she also needs to be at the Days Inn
with us discussing these very issues
VĂ­ctor Valera Mora, I have reversed the lines of your poem
so that you will never crash your Maserati
and all of us poets but especially the poets
of revolutionary inclinations will go into the city of Caracas
or Los Angeles to affirm that we must stop working
and never ascend from this cave to the surface
of stupid administrators and Mora, I also turn women
into weapons of war and I think it’s funny when all the poets
who live in shitty apartments get to a certain age and sheepishly
ask one another if they are going to ever buy a house
Never! No poet should ever have a jacuzzi I want
A Jacuzzi! We must stop working so we can love again
and pull ourselves from this stupid exile
and everyone will learn the language of exile to burn it up
The sun and the moon and the future are on our side
and when I when I fuck my husband in the morning
and walk into the city with sperm splashing inside of me—
with the infinite universe going everywhere inside my flesh and pulling
my cells along some continuum of nothingness—I will never be
on the surface—I will always be naked down here
among the poets and my body which is always underneath everything
calls out and thinks of you constantly, my reader.
I take one last red gulp of wine and duck out the door forever.

Sandra Simonds is the author of four collections of poetry, Warsaw Bikini (Bloof Books, 2008), Mother Was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2012), The Sonnets (Bloof Books, 2014) and Ventura Highway in the Sunshine (Saturnalia Books, forthcoming in 2015). Her poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry 2014, the American Poetry Review, Fence, Poetry, the Black Warrior Review, the Boston Review and others. She was a recipient of a “reader’s choice” award in 2013 from the Academy of American Poets for her poem “Red Wand” which appeared on

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