My Heart is a car poetry

InsideOut Citywide Poets

Poems from My Heart Is a Car: A Citywide Poets Anthology



Valid Arguments for an Existentialist

I dove
alone. Under cold,
mindless stars. There stood nothing to prove
that my body wasn’t cellophane,
sucking invisible spirits into my bones
and being pushed by a current.

October Tuesdays are punctuated.
That doesn’t make them any less terse.
We reek of burnt rubber,
stale cigarettes. Becoming surveyors
drifting in a vast land,

where you have a girl
whose disembodied face lives among the cornices.
Pressed like broken butterfly wings behind a window.

I fell in love with him
because his identity
was as disorganized as the Heidelberg project.

Forgotten saucers reach
over a metal junkyard
and stapled stuffed animals
have become the moans of drunk vagrants.
They clutch dirty, white viscera
that rupture from bloated water content.

October Tuesdays are patches
on your favorite jeans.
A reliable spindle
that breaks down,
little grooves between the denim from shuffling,
living in them.

We are a walk home on carpets of windswept leaves
where they have already left impressions
brown and as close to fossils as cement permits.
An unfamiliar language that boasts
a time slot

so that the decay can surface into questions
of what has been,
who might’ve walked before,
how they came,

why they left.
When it will fade
into the tramples of rubber soles.

Wendy Hernandez
InsideOut CityWide Poets – Western International High School site
published in Citywide Poets’ My Heart Is a Car (2014)


Laundry: the Musical

I want to lug that calendar appointment out to the curb
But it has stuck its sticky-tack-back to the green grit wall of the laundry room
Stubbornly folding programs, ignoring me

There will be no bleach-softened escape through stage door but a heave-ho!
And a booming rejection
the stick poured straight onto the audience

The costumes are puce and the seams are loose
I’m swirling around inside
Accidentally kicking my head as I taste watery somersaults up my nose

I want to be really alive
without having to get up off the floor
I want someone to untangle me
But no reprieve! Repeat the reprise!
stiffen up and oversell!
The grass is greener in Oklahoma!

Lines of glitz hands spurting

The audience slurps up this ketchup, spilling everywhere
I soak in the stains

I watch the producer unload his day, watch him watch me
He frowns at my exaggerated unwinding
“Lug” is not a word we use in this business. We lilt! We pour! We swirl!

bubblings of glitz in the pockets but he
hones in on my one, wild damp

gesturing madly, the calendar stuck to his heels
You are DONE FOR!
You have BEEPED!
(the dancers are singing: HOLD ME! NEED ME!)

You are TOO MUCH!
(the singers are dancing: BOMBS BOMBS BOMBS)
the show is GOING ON
the curtain pulls back

the calendar appointment smirks

I am sitting on a milk carton folding t-shirts

This is too much

Miriam Saperstein
InsideOut CityWide Poets – DPL Main Library site
published in Citywide Poets’ My Heart Is a Car (2014)



My street is a graveyard.
Most of the houses have kicked
everyone out of them
and grown old together.
Only a few love their tenants,
like mine, and keep them together.
The streetlights become the souls
of Glenfield Street.

Night times Tony was still slangin’
like a windmill,
his arms growing stiff
as pasta from the wind chills.

Weezle’s lurking in the backyard
stomping my grandmother’s flowers.
It rained today and Weezle’s mad cuz
everyone except him got to shower.

They cut off the water.
I unlocked the word coward
and found you hiding inside it
from my cousin cause you stole his Xbox.

He climbed out of the trap
he was trapped inside,
came and black shoe-shined
your eye.

My street is a graveyard.
Every empty house embodies a body
hiding inside it. We have coffins
rotting inside coffins.

Javon Flemmon
InsideOut CityWide Poets – Denby High School site
published in Citywide Poets’ My Heart Is a Car (2014)