James W Gaynor, Platitude as a second language

Fun Ways to Grieve

Make a list
write down what you hated
and then
read it aloud
while smiling ruefully

Strike a match
light some candles
and then
humming softly
set the curtains on fire

Walk out the door
close it behind you
and then
from a distance
watch it all burn down

Change your name
leave the country
and then
knowing what you know
start over


Without the tourist attraction
Lourdes is just another small town
with ordinary people
wearing uneventful shoes
walking down the street
hoping for a miracle

Perfect Haiku Toast

If the question is
do I still think about killing you
while I’m spreading my toast
with violent raspberry jam

Then the answer is
not as often as once I did
but I’m taking it
one breakfast at a time

Captain America Cuts Himself Shaving

Staring into the mirror
he suddenly realizes
he’s everything wrong with the country

a blurred history of purpose and privilege
hiding in historical mist
a narcissistic personality disorder
weaponized by a spandex-ed ability
to forget everything —
including what he’s just learned —
once he sets off into
the business of bullying the world

PSL for COVID-19

In times of great stress
things happen for a reason
one of which is
what doesn’t kill us
makes us stronger or
at the very least
hasn’t killed us yet so
while everything else
in our lives may be
going horribly wrong
it’s a good thing I can speak
platitude as a second language.

James W Gaynor has been writing poetry since he was 12 and somehow he’s still here, writing, at 71. He’s the author of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in 61 Haiku, and has published articles, book reviews, poems, and essays in The New York Observer, Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, The Gay and Lesbian Review / Worldwide, Down in the Dirt, Rust + Moth, The Good Men Project, and Fleas on the Dog.

James’s latest collection 20 Poems about Love + Marriage Inappropriate 4 Weddings is available here.

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