The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words


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My body wants to meet your body in a dark alley

and say things in Braille. When I leave notes

on your pillow it’s supposed to be a gimmick. Still,

here we are in love, careening toward death like a flower.

Have you ever written a letter, an email, or a text message, and then waited by the mailbox, clicked refresh over and over again, or stared at your phone, hoping for that response, that reply, or some type of vibration that at least allows you to feel anything, but realizing that maybe you didn’t say enough to warrant the acknowledgement for which you’d pined? If yes, you have something in common with Sarah Bartlett’s newest chapbook, Freud Blah Blah Blah. In this short, but direct, chap from Rye House Press, Bartlett digs deep into our intrinsic sense of wanting someone so badly, and even when they’re within reach, not being able to actually cling onto them, or let them know how we truly feel – in love, but “careening toward death like a flower.”

I spend all evening baking you cornbread.

The last thing in the world I want is for you to be hungry.

A few years ago, I set fire – maybe I just threw them away, but fire is such a good visual here –  to a box of letters I’d written for someone, but chose never to actually mail. I wanted them to devour every word, and come running to me, but the reality was, I never wanted them to really read them, because I didn’t know what I’d do if that actually happened. Our narrator throughout this chapbook gives me that same feeling: desire to be with the person she loves, but an almost tragic lack of confidence to let them know, or even worse, letting them know, and not having it reciprocated.

Pets are stupid. I’ve never understood why

we want to clean up another animal’s shit.

We already live inside of one that constantly

needs to be fed and cleaned and put down

for naps daily. My hand likes to be held.

I keep telling you. 

And then, just like that, we can so easily convince ourselves that we don’t need to be someone else’s “pet.” Then again, maybe we do.

Grab your copy of Sarah Bartlett’s Freud Blah Blah Blah from Rye House Press. 

About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter.

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