Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘A General of Butter Knives’ and other poems

By: Richard LeDue

Old Poems

Sometimes, reading my old poems
feels like the closest
I’ll ever get to time travel,
as the person I used to be
sends a message through my present day
voice, hoping to prove the past
more than those moments one thinks about
in bed after long days,
when forgetting seems the only way


A General of Butter Knives

An army of butter knives camping
in my silverware drawer
help me feel safe
behind locked doors on Sunday morning
as the silence leftover from Saturday night
invades my self-esteem,
the same self-esteem they buttered up
in grade school with gold stars
and long lectures reassuring me
of a steak knife future,
just for me to become a general
of butter knives: my master plan spreading
jam carefully on bread, and the crumbs
on my floor my only victory or defeat,
depending on my mood.


A Cheap Sort of Resurrection

Al Purdy is still there
haunting my brain, hacking at a frozen
Roblin Lake with a hatchet
to get drinking water,
but is this enough to quench
a poet’s thirst for immortality,
or just another reason to clear one’s throat,
hoping there’s no answer
across winter’s empty room?

Charles Bukowski still downs his wine,
thundering at his keyboard
among my thought sized lightning bolts
that illuminate my mind
just long enough to get through
those nights when the alarm clock
waits like a hungry mosquito,
more concerned with blood than sleep.

Margaret Atwood hasn’t died yet,
so she’d probably say,
“Get me the hell out of this poem!”
My dollar store notebook
giving a cheap sort of resurrection for those
two, who told their own ghost stories
about dead writers to blank pages,
and their words still stomp enough
to make me feel less alone.

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