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Ron Riekki Poetry

I’m Tall

by Ron Riekki

so tall
that I get asked how tall I am
every day,

so tall
that children point at me
in supermarkets
and their super-mothers
tell them in super-language
that it’s not polite to do that,

so tall
that it’s my turn
to attack the village,
so I march across the forest
crunching trees with every step
and when I get there
they have all their pitchforks
and their torches
and they wait for me to make the next move
so I tell them
to please
to please do the research
and you’ll find
that all those people killed by police

were tall
and, yes,
I know they’re minorities too,
but they’re

also tall.
All of them.
I know.
I always look up their height
after I find out someone was murdered by the police
and over and over again
they’re guilty
of having a large body,
one that must be stopped
by any means necessary
even if they are just
through a park.

I Have the Same Birthday as L. Frank Baum

and I look like the Scarecrow too,
walk like a scarecrow with
 my 50% disabled veteran body,
my tremors
where I shake

like it’s the cusp
of the tornado
 and I write too,
except I’m unknown,
stuffed with straw,

hanging there
for all the world
 to discover me,
take me down,
take me to the castle

where all of my dreams
will be given to me
 only to discover
that they were always right there,
stuffed inside my straw-hearted chest.

I Listen to Blonde Redhead’s “Silently” for the Tenth Time in a Row

and when Kazu dances
it makes me remember when I could dance
and when Kazu dances
it makes me remember when I could walk
and when Kazu dances
it makes me remember when I was loved
and it was good,
like a song,
that love,
how she kissed me at the sink
and we fell to the floor,
my hands all wet,
her laughing carmine lips,
her intense love of God,
and how she left me,
a year later,
because, she said, I didn’t love God enough,
and I remember
all the hollowness that came
after she was gone
and this revelation:

So simple:



Chronic Pain

I look at the abandoned building.
It looks like it just got out of prison,
like the building had just spent its tenth year inside another building.
Its glass-shattered front window with a couple of remaining hanging shards that look like teeth
and the window moves, the building speaking to me, asking if I have a chimney,
if I have a spare chimney it could have,
but I tell it I gave up smoking years ago,

and inside I can see its carpet looking so thirsty.
I don’t know what to do.
So I stand there
and talk to the building.
We talk about our pain,
how bad our lungs and living rooms hurt
and the heat that radiates in my head and in its kitchen

and the window yawns
because it’s getting late,
and I walk away
and it hurts to walk,
but I’m thankful for my legs
and it’s thankful for its roof
and we’re blessed with gratitude.

She Said We Shouldn’t Have to Say ‘I Love You’ (for Amélie)

so she didn’t.
She said it was in our actions.
So I tried to see her love
when she turned off the lamp
at night
and I tried to see her love
in the strange way
that she would fall asleep
with her cell phone in her hand,
the light glowing
like it was coming from her angelic


Ron Riekki’s books include Blood/Not Blood Then the Gates (Middle West Press, poetry), My Ancestors are Reindeer Herders and I Am Melting in Extinction (Loyola University Maryland’s Apprentice House Press, hybrid), Posttraumatic (Hoot ‘n’ Waddle, nonfiction), and U.P. (Ghost Road Press, fiction). Right now, Riekki’s listening to Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.”