Three Poems – Carrie Rudzinski


Hope, New Zealand

The week before you came back
I woke in the early fog mornings
to untangle Kiwi tree branches
without any gloves on. 

Lucas would push the stroller
filled with tools and the portable radio –
nicknamed “The Baby” by the 
childless farmers we worked for –
through the wet grass and Hiro 
would sing and we would wait 
with raw fingers for the sun
to swallow our frost breath. 
After lunch, we would flee, 
ride our too-small bikes down 
the back roads out of Hope,
towards the sky or something 
bigger. We’d steal
Wifi from McDonalds and eat
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
on the bank of Tasman Bay
and Lucas would ask in his 
broken English if my smiles
were for him. We never made it 
to Rabbit Island – or maybe we did. 
The winter sun always at half-mast
in the Southern Hemisphere.
After dinner, we would waste time 
we thought we didn’t need
watching VHSs in the boys’ room
before I would sneak away.
Use up all the data on my 
tiny phone – the smallest
glow in a dark farmhouse – 
just to see if you’d written
me back. It would be years
later, when you’d ask me
to tell you again about when 
I fell in love with you,
that I would realize maybe 
this was it.

When your words were a dark
ocean I waded into, the nights
I dreamt of falling asleep 
with my hands in your hair, 
the quiet way you slipped
into my life like you 
were always

The Hallucination

Love is a boy with addictions
to everything but me. Love 
sounds just like a dial tone.
Love knows he is my first 
want. He is a field waiting 
to be grazed. Love taught me 
to forgive like a wing ripped 
from its socket. Love taught me 
patience carries a knife. To walk 
like a bruise blooming. To devour 
each lie and ask for another.

I found a toothbrush
that is not mine
in Love’s bathroom.
Love is a salt block of excuses.
A scab I chewed through.
Love makes me walk home.
Love is forgiven.

Love taught me how to drown quiet.
So I may taste how to flood.
So his hands are the last thing
I kiss. Love is forgiven.

Love is a severed finger
forgotten in my pocket.
I wait. And wait.
He never calls.
Love is forgiven.

Love has too much desire
and not enough hands.
He wrapped his mouth in a telephone wire.
Promised not to kill himself 
this time. Love says I am his 
but he is not mine. My love 
is malignant. His mouth is all 
of the reasons I flinch 
when other men touch me.
Love taught me to wait.
I am old now.
Love is forgiven. 

Love did not mean it.
Love tells me all of his secrets.
Love refuses to kiss me in public.
Love is only sober when he is with me.
Love is a breeze in everyone’s skirt.
A handprint on the inside of my thigh.
Love tells me he loved me too much.
Love never apologized.
Love is broken. 
Love told me his mouth 
is the last train home.
Love knows I am not
his Love. Love told me 
not to love him. 

But how do you claw
your way out of the river
when you are a stone? 

The Future

In the end, it will be the future.

The future will ask
What is the Self? 
And no one will answer. 

are the cassette deck
of the future. 
The future knows everything
that has not happened yet.
The future is not worried.
The future is The Show.
The future is god.
The future does not believe in god.
The future watched global warming 
devour all the water in California
but mouths are necessary
for weeping.

The future does not weep.
The future watches.
And witnesses the passage of time.
And mimics the sound of your laugh.

The future does not want to be you,
you mouthless thing. 
The future just wants to know

when did you first fall in love
with your computer screen?
What did it FEEL like?
To spend all of your time 
staring at each other?
To become inseparable
with the thing that could kill you?

No. The Future asks
when did you fall out of love 
with the reality around you? 
Was it the sound of your lover’s voice 
escaping from the answering machine?
Was it the echo of your face
in the ocean of want?
The way you could filter out 
all of the imperfections 
you did not desire?

Did you always want to share
the darkest parts of yourself?
As if you were always your own god,
ready with forgiveness?

Did your body once belong to you?
Did it dance the way the videos
claim it did? All night, across
a gymnasium, or a black river of hair,
or your mother’s kitchen?
Did you really smile like that?
Did you really move
as if no one was watching?

About Carrie Rudzinski

Named Best Female Poet at her first national poetry competition in 2008, Carrie Rudzinski is a published author and internationally ranked slam poet who has performed her work across the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and India. She currently lives in Los Angeles. View all posts by Carrie Rudzinski

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