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‘During the Q&A, She Says That Climate Change Doesn’t Affect Earthquakes’ and other poems by Ron Riekki

By: Ron Riekki

During the Q&A, She Says That Climate Change Doesn’t Affect Earthquakes

and she says this pretty confidently,
almost angrily,
and a bit like I’m stupid.
I’m not really sure why there’d be anger.

At another talk, I said that prisons are dangerous
and a poet at that talk said,
“No, they’re not. I used to teach at one.”
And she was pretty confident too
that prisons aren’t dangerous.
I worked as an EMT in the prison system
and there were a lot of stabbings there,
but I guess the prisons are safe where she was
and the prisons were dangerous where I was.

I think climate change affects the earthquakes where I live too.
But that poet is pretty lucky that it doesn’t affect the earthquakes
where she lives.
She’s pretty lucky.


My daughter says

Fame is a bee.

Emily Dickinson said that.

And she’s famous.

Is Emily Dickinson a bee?

Yes. Yes, she is.

Are we bees?

No, we’re not famous. We’re not even close to being bees.

Then what are we then?

Whatever the opposite of a bee is.

So something that can’t fly.

Exactly. We’re something that can’t fly.



I went to the lecture where the famous writer talked about violence

He said he had a real violent childhood.
He said we wouldn’t want to have his childhood,
because it was so violent.
He didn’t really tell us too much about the violence though.
He told us a story about how he beat up a kid
and I kept thinking that it was weird because he was the one
doing the violence in that story.
He said he smashed the kid’s teeth down his throat.
Which I don’t believe.
I’ve seen a lot of violence
and none of it was a cliché.
It was all so specific
like when that guy stabbed himself in the stomach
in the prison.
He stabbed himself with a broken light bulb he’d stolen.
He wanted to get out of the prison for a bit,
to get to go to the E.R. at the hospital nearby.
But the doctor just treated him right there
in the nursing station.
I wanted to tell the famous writer at the lecture about the guy who stabbed himself with a light bulb,
but everyone wanted an autograph afterwards and I didn’t want to wait around.


To anyone who ever kissed me

I hope you end up in heaven.
and if you don’t make it to heaven,
I hope they let you put in the paperwork
so that maybe they’ll change their decision.

I have to add this too:
not one single person I ever kissed
did a bad job of kissing me.
Every single one of you was amazing.

I hope you read this poem.
I hope you read this poem
while you’re lounging around in heaven and you feel really comfortable and good.

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