The Poem I Could Not Put in My Pocket on Poem in Your Pocket Day

Thank you so much for asking about me.

It’s good to get out and get some air – if ever so briefly.
You can only imagine what it’s like in there.

The wallet, so big and bulky,
crowding everyone out –
thinking it owns the place.

The coins so cold and smug –
so full of themselves, they won’t
even turn to look you in the eye,
let alone have a conversation.

The only one in there who’ll give me the time of day
is a receipt from a pet store,
but the time never changes,
and all he has to talk about
is the price of cat food and kitty litter.

Such horrible companions!

And as for my cruel creator –
Yes, I call him that – cruel –
for to we, the created, it is cruel
to bring a new thing into the world
only to hide it in your pocket
in case the right people ask.

You disagree?

Well, so be it.
In the end the joke will be on him
for entire lifetimes
have been wasted
stuffing pockets
and becoming heavy
with things
that complain.

Wait –
Please –

If you are to hand me over
just one thing –
just fold me the other way.
I know, it’s true, what they say,
“Once folded, always creased,”
but I’ve been folded this way for so long
maybe a change will do me good.

Or if you want, you could always run away with me,
Or if you couldn’t be burdened with me,
just leave me some place there is a good wind
and let me be taken by it to hands that will receive me.

Or you can dutifully hand me back.

What will you do with me
now that you have found me?


I started this poem on Thursday, April 18, 2013, the day The American Academy of Poets designated for their annual “Poem in Your Pocket Day.”

If I had to choose a poem written by someone else, I would have chosen e.e. cummings “anyone lived in a pretty how town” – probably my favorite poem. But I wanted to write a poem of my own to put in my pocket.

Yet, as I was writing it, the poem sort of turned on me, and didn’t want to finish itself until only recently. So I place it here, hopefully “some place there is a good wind” (although it is a very small wind, but sometimes that’s all that’s required), and hope it will judge me less cruel having done so.

Also, for some odd reason, when I read the poem in my head, I read it with the voice, cadence and intonation of William Carlos Williams on PennSound’s recording of “This is Only to Say”. But that’s just me…and I may be breaking some unwritten rule of poetry (“thou shalt not instruct the reader to hear the poem in the voice of another poet”) in even mentioning it. Fortunately, the fines for breaking rules in poetry are minimal.

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