Tag Archives: Rich Boucher

Trying to Remember Your Name after Amazing Sex

by Rich Boucher

I do all that I can to recall
every time I’ve been there
to witness the moment
when you met someone
for the first time; sometimes
it’s hard to hear you over the din
of doorbells and other people
in my memories; I try to rewind
these memories and stop them
right at the moment you’re about
to tell a stranger who you are,
but the mix tape inside of me
seems like it’s been recorded over
in spots with the reports of faraway guns;
I wish we lived in a home so large and grand
that every time we ran into each other
in the hallway we’d be meeting for the first time again;
I’m pretty damned wealthy because of your love
but I still think it would be fun
to have so much money
I could throw pieces of real gold
into the garbage disposal and turn it on;
I wish I could fly like a steroid hero
and carry you over the city,
then drop you just to hear you scream,
then catch you just to hear you cry
and then make you only remember
the part where I saved your life;
look at me with those eyes of yours
and try to guess what I am thinking.
You and I could live in a town
without ambulances if we wanted to.
Whatever your name is, I’d go back in time
if you were with me, that much I know.
Wait. Don’t say anything.
Don’t say anything other than please.
I know who you are now.
You’re the one I’m brave for
when it comes to big spiders on the wall,
daddy long legs behind the wine bottle on the counter;
I hope you thought my hesitation at saying your name
was simply me trying to catch my breath,
because you’d be right.


The Waves

by Rich Boucher

I am waiting here until I can understand
what the waves are saying to me.

The wind can get as cold as it likes here;
the sky can let itself turn into a late blue night;
beaches don’t have clocks so I’ll never know what time it is;
the Moon can be a spotlight on me here
until the man in the rising Sun comes to turn it off;
everything about the world can do its thing
but I am not leaving here; I will not go
until I can make some sense out of what the waves are saying,
and I know they are saying something to me;
I just want to know what it is for sure.

All my life I have had to sit and learn the lessons
that everyone felt it was their life’s mission to teach me:
you are safe; you are loved;
this is the way you feed yourself;
you hold a fork like this;
you bring the food to your mouth and chew;
this is how you say “mother”;
this is how you say “father”;
you tell your mother you love her
and you tell your father the same thing;
you sing on your birthday
and you sing on the birthdays of the ones you love
and now you have to go away from home
and learn things at a building called a school
and you will do this for many years
until you can call your world by its given name,
until you can name the neighbors of your world,
until you can count until you can’t count anymore,
until you learn how important it is
that things happened, and people happened hundreds of years
before you ever thought to cry the tears of your birth;
your teachers will be like your parents
except that the world will not allow them to love you
as much as your parents are allowed to,
and you will learn things at buildings called schools
until you know about the music of history
and the history of God and all his family
and how he became the president

and you will learn things like this for many years,
except for the summers, except for the summers
when you will be allowed to daydream under trees
and then swim, and then run, and then run in the woods,
and then get away from where the Sun can see you,
and then taste someone else’s skin for the first time
and I have learned all these things already
in all of this life of mine that has gone by,
and I am not happier for the time I have spent
in those buildings, and in those woods,
and if today was the day I had to die
everything would be oncoming traffic
careening the wrong way;
everything would be a hungry and lost dog
looking at you and wondering why you will not feed it
because no one in my life,
not one lover, not one teacher,
no one has taught me
what it is that the waves are saying
and I just know it in my heart;
I can hear the possibility of it
in the rush of the hot red sands
in that hourglass I contain
that if I could understand all the shhhhhh
maybe I could talk back to the sea;
maybe I could ask the sea about pain,
all the questions I still carry
without their answers,
all these rusted, unanswered chains
that weigh me down
as I walk through my life;
these chains that have made me like stone,
made me way too heavy
to ever be an angel.

Something like Eight Hundred

by Rich Boucher

They want to be artists, these people.

They come around my house, all the time,
snapping pictures of me in artistic (I guess) almost-focus
as I haul my garbage bags like corpses down my driveway,
and those pictures get hung up on the walls
of that museum in the city downtown,
which I guess for someone is great,
but those stolen glimpses of me can’t be art.
I’m only one guy, one regular-sized regular guy;
I got no idea what these people are doing.

They steal my fingerprints
right off the handle on the door of my car
and negative-print them onto transparencies,
and then they project them onto a wall
at some club somewhere while some band is playing;
these people are sleeping in a tent
right outside of my bedroom window
pretty much every night of the god-damned week,
and they make field recordings of my snoring,
and then they make songs out of those recordings
and release them with all my breaths for percussion
to all the local college radio stations
and I have to hear my own stupid snoring
when I’m changing the station in my car
but I never told them they could do that!

I ask them, repeatedly, not to do these things
but they tell me that I “inspire” them,
that I have no idea how “interesting” I am,
that even the little things I do everyday
are worthy of a drawing, or a sketch, or a song.

I don’t want to inspire anybody.

What do I wish for?

I wish those kids would stop coming around
to cover me up with papier-mâché;
I don’t even know why they picked me.
Just last week I found out
that they shot something like eight hundred,
maybe a thousand hours of footage,
just of me washing my dishes,
just of me walking down the hallway
in my deep, mummified sleep
listing side to half-awake side
in the direction of the teakettle’s monastic drone,
scratching my balls through my pajamas
in the late weekend mornings;
it’s not a good feeling to be told
by a friend on the phone
that there’s a new statue of your head
at an art gallery somewhere;
it’s an even stranger not good feeling
to go to that gallery and check out
that painted clay version of your own head up close
on top of a wooden pedestal with a little white card under it,
to look into those dotless, doppelgänger eyes,
to hear strangers whisper to each other
how much they like your forehead,
how they really love the look in your eyes,
how intensely you seem to stare.

Let Us Remember Whoever This Was

by Rich Boucher

He was my blond uncle,
and he was a good, blond man.
He was stronger than any animal
you ever saw lift weights.
He walked proudly around our town
with tissuey, patriotic bunting
trailing loosely from his waist
because that’s just the kind of man
he always just happened to be.
He built the Statue of Liberty every day
with his bare, pink hands and then
he allowed the French to give it to us;
here was a man who was at least just as American
as any immigrant who was American ever was,
right up until the time he wasn’t no more.
He, my uncle, was a man who stood for
whatever he stood for even if he didn’t always know
what it was that he proudly stood for,
and we were all very proud of him
for the strength to believe in his own convictions.
I would tell you what his name was,
but he was loved by so many of us
that it really doesn’t even matter
what his name was, or what we called him.
Some people called him a plumber,
but those of us who knew him
knew him as a son, a father, an uncle,
a husband, and in some cases, an aunty.
Those of us who really knew him
often thought of him as a surgeon,
and, once in a while, as a good friend.
And this man lived a good, classic American life
right up until that dark, chocolate Saturday
when he was taken from our clutches too soon
by a disease that doesn’t play favorites
but knows all too well who it likes to kill the most.
He was gone from us at the tender forty-year-old age.
The doctors say it was the late onset
of sudden infant crib syndrome
but I can’t bring myself to believe them,
even though I know they are doctors.
Here was a man who was both
an uncle, and, apparently,
a man I knew somehow.
Remember him.

My Heart Goes Out to You

by Rich Boucher

Sometimes the words we say to each other
have a tendency to float in the air
between us like a bright blue neon outline of a dove,
hung up there and held in place by nothing.

Sometimes I say what I mean to you,
and sometimes, what I say to you means more
than just the words that escape my mouth.

Take all the times when I say
my heart goes out to you,
for example.

When I say my heart goes out to you,
I mean more than just that I can sympathize
with the wounded and frightened fox of your emotions;
I also mean my heart goes out to you literally:
my heart goes out to you; it really does.
It goes out of my chest, softly, with no loss of blood;
it uses its little claws to push open the chalky,
creaking saloon doors of my ribs and it keeps going,
pushing through the skin of my chest
without tearing it or cutting me up like an art project
and it flies slowly forward and away from me,
out to you, out into whatever room I’m standing in
and then it goes through the doors of this house
and it flies slowly over the gray, motionless sidewalk,
stops at the 7-Eleven for a quick cup of coffee to keep it up,
pays the guy behind the counter with exact change
and it keeps going, my heart, as it goes out to you;
it keeps going; it stops to get a check-up at the doctor’s office
at the bustling, busy corner of Wyoming and Constitution Ave
so it can know for sure it’ll be strong enough to have you,
and the doctor listens through a stethoscope so freezing cold
I go ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh right where I am,
still by myself without my heart here in this house,
and then the doctor gives a toothy, thumbs-up grin,
gives my heart a little lime lollipop
and sends it on its way again,
and then, while it’s still on its way out to you,
my heart takes a few rides on the roller coaster at the park
because it got distracted for a half a second and forgot where it was going
but that was only momentary and everything’s okay,
and it’s still on its way, going out to you now, my heart,
going far, going all the way through the town,
wearing an appropriately-sized helmet and obeying all the rules of the road,
stopping when the funny little traffic cop whistles
and going again when the whistling is done, going, going,
gone over a bridge and then through some piney woods
leaving cinnamon-scented, dark red contrails
in the heat mirage wake of its slow, bumblebee-like flight
and it hopes, it hopes that when it gets you
you’ll hold out your hands with love in your blood
and carefully catch it between your palms,
let it flutter its wings and fold them in;
let it settle into place and trust your smell;
that’s me you’ve caught in your hands there.

Careful now.

Don’t make any sudden moves.

My heart goes out to you.

Be careful.

The Last Hamburger Speaks

by Rich Boucher

I am the very last hamburger that no one ate,
still here at the end of the McDonald’s work shift today.
It’s night, and it’s very late, and no one has eaten me.

I watched all day long, from my perch on the silver shelf
as one by one, my paper-wrapped brethren were bought,
and I knew in my heart that they were going to be eaten.

Every time I watched the slaves reach for one
of my people, one of my fellow hamburgers,
a tear would roll down the front of my hamburger face.

There isn’t anyone at all who wanted to eat me today,
and no one wanted to eat me yesterday also,
and no one wanted to eat me the day before that.

All I have ever wanted ever since the day I was cooked
was for someone to come along and rip me apart with his mouth
as I watched him lick my guts and sauces off his fingers.

All I’ve ever wanted to do was scream as someone
ate me alive in several hearty bites; what is the point
in living at all if I can’t make a stranger’s mouth water?

I’ve thought about killing myself, about hurling my body
off this silver shelf thing onto the greasy floor of my world;
I know how a fall from this height would mean my squishy death.

The night has grown late and I can hear the spirits of the dead
as they float through the vaulted marble halls of this McDonald’s
while the owls in the distant meadow screech in fear of the Reaper.

There is no love for me in this world; no one wanted to eat me
and bite through me and swallow me and digest me and pass me.
I wish I had arms so that I could cut myself, cut my own patty.

My buns are salty now, soaked down through to the pickle
with my tears, with angst, suicidal ideation and special sauce.
No one has eaten me, and, if I could, I’d end it all and eat myself.

Personal Ad Written During an Absinthe Hospital Visit Fever Dream

by Rich Boucher

You, a dark-haired, striped-dress-wearing, lightly tattooed beauty smoking on the patio. Me, a nerdy hipster-type clad in ink-stained grey cutoffs and a ratty old cyclist’s cap, reading by the front door. You, a dark-eyed beauty standing in front of a waterfall of glowing, neon water under the moonlight in probably Brazil. Me, a citizen of the world with no ethnicity on all of the Sundays at once, watching in utter stupefaction as a giant rubber ducky floats adrift in a Brazilian harbor on an overcast day. You, a night-eyed stunner bolting me to the wall of the café with your smoldering, baleful stare as your fingers turn the page of your magazine in the sunniest part of the afternoon. Me, a mildmannered, thick-eyeglasses-wearing metropolitan obsessive, noisily sucking the last of this latte through a nervously-chewed-up straw and totally agog, aghast and gaga over you. You, made out of amethyst and pale coral skin, breathing the Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn in your bed as you dream. Me, an affectionate planet coming close to the earth at night to watch you dream through your window. Us, maybe the ocean churning bright reflections of stars and moonlight like gemstones in the waves of a soft storm halfway to the morning, maybe.