November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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Clint Margrave/Poetry

To the Student Who Asked Why He Earned A “C” on an Essay about Love

Because love has its own grammar,
its own sentences,
some that run-on too long,
others just fragments.
It uses a language
not always appropriate
or too informal,
and often lacks clarity.

Love is punctuated all wrong,
changes tenses abruptly,
relies heavily
on the first person,
can be redundant,
full of unnecessary repetition.

Every word is compounded.
Every phrase, transitional.

Love doesn’t always know the difference
between lie and lay,
its introductions sometimes
lack a well-developed thesis,
its claims go unfounded,
its ad-hominem attacks
call in question
its authority.

With a style that’s inconsistent,
a voice either too critical
or too passive,
love is a rough draft
in constant need of revision,
whose conclusion
rarely gives any sense
of closure,
or reveals the lingering
possibilities of a topic
that always expects high praise,
and more often than not
fails to be anything
but average.



I was ten when my mother left me
at the grocery store.
It must have only been a couple hours.
I didn’t take it personally,
spent the time looking for a coin
so I could call her
on the payphone.

Now, thirty years later,
it’s she who feels left somewhere,
when she asks me
to pick her up from my sister’s house,
where she’s lived
the past five years.

“I want to go home,” she tells me.

“But you are,” I insist,
knowing she means back to that place
before old age and dementia
and the death of her husband.

“I am?” she says. “I thought I lived
somewhere else.”

It’s not likely she’d remember
ever leaving me at the grocery store,
or how when she finally realized it
she called the manager in a panic,
asking if he’d seen a little lost boy
roaming down the aisles,
wondering where
his mother went.


This Is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
were recalled
from Costco
this week

Forgive me
I am delirious
so sweaty
and so cold



Clint Margrave is the author of The Early Death of Men, a collection of poems published by NYQ Books. His work has also appeared in The New York Quarterly, Rattle, Cimarron Review, Verse Daily, Nerve Cowboy, and Ambit (UK), among others. In 2015, his second full-length collection of poems, Salute the Wreckage, is due out from NYQ Books. He lives in Long Beach, CA.

1 comment

1 Gail Gerwin { 12.01.14 at 7:30 am }

I loved these poems. The takeoff of the Williams poem brought back memories of standing on the returns line at Costco, the eloquent message in “Lost” applies to so many in overlapping generations, and how we all miss the grammar in “Love,” Thank you, Clint, for touching our cores.