Literary Yard

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‘Middle Class Role Model’ and other poems by Richard LeDue

By: Richard LeDue

Middle Class Role Model

Singing in the kitchen
along again.
Hands have no choice
but to smell of dirty dishes.
Five day old macaroni
more stubborn
than I’ll ever be,
while a bluetooth speaker
(a Christmas gift)
betrays my burden,
overflowing garbage can
proves my privilege,
and the plastic containers,
bought online with a credit card,
soak in water and soap
that’s at least environmentally friendly-
the duck on the bottle
a middle class role model
for contentment.


When People Say They Don’t Read Poetry

I guess you’ve never heard of Al Purdy then?
He could write about flowers and beer
while I stare out my living room
window, wondering if yellow autumn leaves
are the type of gold that turns
fingers green, or the same shade
as fake vomit we used to throw
in the girl’s bathroom
(never actually did that,
but it sounds right,
like telling Al you only want to be friends),
and the setting sun is blind
to snow helping us forget grass,
still as dead hands that wrote poems.


All Anyone Wants

Don’t give them what they want
because all they want
is more.
They don’t expect a poet,
but an efficient factory worker
(happy with two dollars above
minimum wage),
watching for Hitler’s head in a jar,
part of quality control.
Every move precise as a cog,
turning, easily replaced
by a repairman, who swears too much,
beats his wife,
but hasn’t missed a day of work
in his life.
And when I’m done,
they’ll give me a watch
that I’ll eventually pawn
to buy more paper-
most of them thinking I was already dead:
remains buried in a backyard
like a goldfish they lied about,
saying it never died, and buying another
to keep everyone


Notes on Illumination

Mosquitoes flirt with streetlights,
not knowing what they’re capable of-
how in the urban darkness,
stars are hidden
like bones buried in the woods.

The mosquito buzzing in their ears
wakes them up. Some cover their heads
with a pillow, surrender to the dark,
while others jump out of bed, flip
on every light switch,
won’t rest until they’ve earned
the peace needed for a good sleep.

Read somewhere about bugs
being attracted to light.
That’s how doctors get them
out of kids’ ears, and I can’t help
but wonder how they got there,
but then my dimming imagination
envisions children trying to impress
each other, until they grow up,
believing their entire experience nothing,

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