Two Poems by Willie Perdomo

BOMB 76 Summer 2001
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Spent a whole day
and night
playing on my see-saw
see if I could forget
saw that it was over
before it started

I never change
the way I get over it
some brothers I know
buy new CDs
or join a new gym
sisters chop off their locks
order new magazines
and start practicing yoga

I go up in smoke
and come down
in a nod
I go up in smoke
and come down
in a nod

then I play with my old journals
so I can hear myself
screaming for help
promising to stop
as soon as I finish
the last one
but beware my foolish heart
wants to play forget again

so I go up in smoke
and come down
in a nod
I go up in smoke
and come down
in a nod

and tell myself
that everything is alright
I can live without her
as long as I got
my see-saw


Come Back

When you come back home
you expect welcome mats of
damn, where you been?
you look good
is there something
I can do for you?
is there anything you need?
but these are the same mats
you stepped on before

When you come back home
you expect the spotlight
to be as bright
as the last time
you left the stage
but the page has turned
and you got left out
the next chapter

Some doors are still left open
with loved ones who never gave up
knowing that one day
you would get it right
they are scared to give you
too many hugs
because they don’t want to enable you again
but they want to stay informed
so they ask questions about twelve steps
and all you can say is that
you closed your eyes
took one giant step
and never looked back

When you finish getting the love
you dreamed of getting
you come home
and clean your closets
making sure to keep the phone nearby
just in case
you bump into half of something
that will bring you back
and hit you
where it hurts

Willie Perdomo is the author of the poetry collection Where a Nickel Costs a Dime (Norton). He has been featured on several PBS documentaries, including Words in Your Face and The United States of Poetry. His first children’s book, Visiting Langston, will be published by Henry Holt/Books for Young Readers.

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Originally published in

BOMB 76, Summer 2001

Featuring interviews with Robert Mangold, Brian Tolle, Robert Pollard, Carl Phillips, Colson Whitehead, Kenneth Lonergan, and Guillermo Arriaga.

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