poems by Rena J. Mosteirin

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Thursday, January 29, 2009


I was a river and everything growing around me was wild and dangerous.
Naked women swam with sea-girls there,
adventurous navigators picked my flowers for crowns.
Then I was crowned and buried alive
and I became a music, from the earth, steady
and loud, in competition with all the other musics.

You offered me a towel
and wiped dirt off my old face, you
took me in a canoe out on the ocean, to a small island
where we were the only people. We saw a baby
deer there and named him. I told you I was the deer also.
You said, there is nothing wrong with you.

I was a voluptuous island, heady and sure,
I thought I was making noises
no one else could make or hear.
But you caught the song, like a ball, one hand up in the air.
You waved. You asked if you could come in.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Poem for Jed

Poem for Jed
On the Morning of Your 29th Birthday

I say forever when all I know is today
and today and today. I love you.
I love you now at your new number
I love all our yesterdays
all of our numbers and accumulating ages.

Each day full of love
crystallizes during the night,
becomes another layer around my heart,
so every morning I love you more. Every morning
I pull you in, between blanket, pillow, mattress and bed frame.
Every morning the bed is full of our sleep-heat,
as dreams become see-through
then all-edges
then invisible.
I get hungry first
for kisses. Your kisses hunger for coffee
and to be awake fully again.

The moon hangs over the mountains on the other side of our big windows.
The orange sun will start to beat soon. First lining the edges
of the clouds with light
then coloring everything orange and pink
just before floating it’s face
up across the new sky
like a flag to make the day official.

By then we’re already in the car on the way to work.
I am saying how beautiful the day is,
how lucky we are,
to be driving into cold, brilliant
mornings like these.

But what I mean is
how beautiful you are
and how lucky I am

to say forever
with you

to say forever
and mean

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Night in Winter

for J.E.D.

Everything autumn crayola-dreamed
is covered by snow now. Ice blooms and is dangerous.
Branches glow out the window, in periwinkle-velvet winter light,
the exact opposite of ordinary kitchen darkness.

The snow in front of the barn is red-and-blued as Christmas
lights slow-blink. Green fingers touch stars,
tingle, and grow into the inky sky. Aurora Borealis moves

gently across the old night in the north.
From behind

the mountains,
the moon comes and comes and comes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

He’s Just Not That Into You

Cause you’re like: “Meth, meth, pot, gay sex…meth”
of course that old guy sitting in the front row
of your reading was sniffing and bristling and fussing.

Maybe it was Salinger?

I don’t want to think of Salinger as fussy.
Besides, he probably doesn’t go to readings.
Joke-talk-tease, but if it was J. D. Salinger
at my reading, scowling and old,
then I have to re-think everything, starting here,
starting with this old scratched-up laptop computer,
and the collection of poetry I took to the toilet
with me this morning after my tea. Hey! My novella isn’t like:
meth, meth, pot, gay sex…meth
that is not a real line, but I’ll put it in this poem,
along with a confession: I am embarrassed to read from my novella out loud.

Maybe I’m a fruitcake.

A fancy Christmas fruitcake. With an inner voice
corrupted by too much TV watching, this voice says:
It’s okay. It’s okay if it was Salinger, look, he’s just not that into you.
I reach for an irregular chocolate,
(I thought it was a French name, pronounced E-rheg-U-lahr)
the smell comes out of the box first, they’re fresh and all jumbled together:

I am the coconut cream!
I am the dark chocolate peppermint!
I am the yucky nougat one!

I knew it. How could Salinger like a nasty nougat like me?
I am tempted to eat the whole box of chocolates and hide
under the covers till Prince Charming comes home from work,
throws off his snowy cape and kisses me. Okay, if that’s the plan,
where do I hide the empty box? Fairy tales and sit-coms don’t teach you that.

I’ve just written something else I’ll be embarrassed to read out loud.
Oh, here’s a milk chocolate hazelnut cream.

Don’t you get it Salinger? I thought I was a gay man!
Don’t you have television out there in the woods?