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Poems

THE CONTAINER STORE

A new store in the mall promises containers 
for every purpose. Shelves upon shelves 
of boxes, bins, and baskets, tinted jars and shiny canisters 
to store everything in our lives and then some.
Such a clever concept—makes me want to buy new stuff 
just to fill those hungry containers.

Maybe someday they will sell just the right vessel
to store our thoughts and emotions 
in safe and accessible spaces.

For playful thoughts, tanks and bowls to display 
like tropical fish their gay frolics.

For darker notions, sturdy cages of glass and steel 
to hold them fast while we study their motions.

Don’t worry about losing important memories
when we have file cases of fine-grain oak
or mahogany to store them securely
by subject and date against dust, mold, 
and the ravages of time.

To show off our finest thoughts and feelings—
that first love perhaps or the lost cause we once fought for— 
trophy cabinets in the living room 
when company comes.

For troublesome creatures that gnaw and consume us— 
hate, jealousy, and greed—
killing jars in matching designer sets. 

And for all the mournful memories never to be forgotten
tasteful urns inscribed with verse
perfect for the mantel.
WHERE DO I PUT THIS

print so it picks up
the color of the sofa
and makes me look
like I know
a Matisse from
a Picasso?

Where do I put this
bed so it will catch 
the morning light
then catch me 
at the end of day?

Where do I put this
quaint emotion 
that no longer
fits the decor?

Where do I put this
ugly thought 
so I don’t have 
to look at it?

Where do I put this
unforgivable thing 
so I won’t bump
into it all the time?
Gene reads “The Glad Sounds of Eating” from his new collection Shopping Cart Dreams

Gene reads “An Eye Pleasing Assemblage” from his collection What the Gargoyle Sees