Widely praised by senior poets, Pushcart Prize nominee Christopher Goodrich’s first full-length collection, Nevertheless, hello, was published by Steel Toe Books in 2009. A chapbook, By Reaching, was brought out by Finishing Line Press in 2007. His poems have also appeared in journals such as The New York Quarterly, Cider Press Review, The Sycamore Review and many others. The recipient of a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize as well as an Emerging Writer’s Fellowship from the Writer’s Center inB ethesda,Maryland, he holds an MFA in Poetry from New England College.
Poetry is not his only identity, however. A graduate also of New York University’s Tisch Schoolof the Arts, he has directed m0re than twenty Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway features and world premieres and is Co-founding Director, with famous poet Gerald Stern, of the Harold Clurman Poets Theatre in New York City.
It is a pleasure to introduce Christopher Goodrich to our readers with three poems, two of which, “The New Amazon” and “About Feet” are published here for the first time. “You, Me, My Mom, My Dad” is from his collection Nevertheless, hello.
The New Amazon
Customers who bought Stephen King
may also enjoy Mary Higgins Clark,
James Patterson, and Stephen King
just as customers who purchased summer
squash might also like snow peas, broccoli,
swinging as an adult. Those who prefer childhood,
may also enjoy cherry bank lollipops,
and never looking back. And those who bought
never looking back will certainly, one day, die,
and wish they had remembered an old house,
a letter written in cursive. Those who bought one love
may buy another. Just as popular are short yellow skirts,
the memory of an ex, a woman you owe
with a ticking uterus. Those who bought one home:
debt, security, a fence needing repair, and those
who bought housework: a family, then, a family running away.
Customers who bought the war on terror may also enjoy
the war on melancholy, the war on itchiness and the war
on hotdogs. This is how easy it is
to buy something, with an eye on something else.
Another chardonnay, tighter jeans, this perfume,
that convertible. Doesn’t that belong on our mantle,
and won’t this look nice when we awake
to sunlight? Though if you like sun, you may also enjoy
an afternoon memorizing Shakespeare, no wallet,
no new toaster, Instead: a hike with your daughter,
a conversation with thunder.
You, Me, My Mom, My Dad
I’m told I’m looking for mother and father combined,
which means you will be bald and co-dependant.
I will blame you for their shortcomings, applaud
you for their success (a thing you will measure
by how often the children come home). Praise
the rice pudding you’ll know how to make,
and god love you for the $50 on my birthday
with notes that read Dearest Christopher
We love you over and over, Mom and Dad.
I make love to the half that brought surprise snicker bars
home when I was four. And afterwards,
I hold the half that tucked me in at night,
the half that made me a sister. In your four eyes
I’m already reliving myself even as I try living
up to you, which is absurd. You hold my car keys in your hand,
Scold me for coming home past curfew, out with an older girl.
I know I should have called. I apologize for not doing so.
Tomorrow let me stay home with the kids so the two of you
can see a movie or dine finally alone. You don’t have to like her,
but I will tell you this: her name is Rachel. I’m going to marry her
as many times as I can.
I married a woman who has them.
And though I mostly love this woman—
she imbibes a kind of wonder
that crawls constantly under my skin—
god help me when, beneath
our working class covers
she rubs those icy pillars of certain death
across my warming calves.
It too is a kind of living I know—
a kind with which I want nothing to do—
for I can’t help but leap under the red duvet
to the outer edge of our full bed,
crying and cursing—
a kind of singing of the happily married—
and because I also have these feet
on wintry occasions, these polar piggies
no one wants, she reminds me,
sometimes several times in one day,
that I, too, am somebody