Todd Colby


People Will Still Love

A certain sense of civility
matched the day perfectly. I was most funny
when I wasn’t trying to be. Sometimes I think
I’m dying and I am. 143 likes.
Deep inside the sold out day
people are trying to find satisfaction.
In many cases I don’t know anything.
Meanwhile, a heat dome is the beginning
of the end of something good. 
The air conditioner sounds
like a vinyl version of Metal Machine Music.
Caving in is better than being above reproach.
The darkest, saddest, hottest summer
is halfway over. The sun drips
behind the High Line at a new angle.
More coffee solves nothing. The corpse
flower blooms once every 9 years.
Free sunlight. Free water. Fresh orange
paint on the side of that monstrous building.


National Poetry Day

Remember when you did that thing?
I remember when you did that thing
and it was pretty amazing. Maybe
there's something we can do, like
empty a mayonnaise jar and fill
it full of buttons. The leaves are
turning faintly gold, which reminds
me that we're turning gold too
as we disintegrate during wartime.
I'll tell you what, or maybe I'll
just keep it to myself and hope
you catch my drift.


July Poem

I cannot get over
what I cannot get done.
All the little leaves
make a big pile
on the tiny curbs
of 10th Avenue.
Even the squirrels
have a certain sass.
“Don’t give me none
of your sass.”
I say to no one but you.
Still, the sun creeps over
the radiant High Line.
My sweat tastes
like a sports drink
on your forearm. I know
a thing or two about
things like drawing lines,
not even sort of, but
like 100% Sol Lewitt.
In the quiet
of a July afternoon
in New York City
I think I see everyone
enjoying the fairly
pleasant weather
while war rages on
nearly everywhere.


Goof Off

I would like to extract something from you that is beguiling.
By way of a reductive pose, I will enable you to squirm
a bit when I enter the room with my bangles
and cordage. Perhaps if I placate your desire for
an instant, you’ll be as bold as the machines
revving up in the dark. I’ll bring you fruit
sprayed with lime juice, and perhaps then
you’ll see a way out of decay. Let me help
you make a connection by the river with
a bucket of something creamy. I’m legally
purposeful in most instances. I like to be left alone
on unstable weather days. When the bloat
from the salty snacks takes away your vascularity
you can help me shop. 


Earth Spritz

Earth needs a spritz.
Everyone is spastic
and drips.
Gold bars turn mealy
and diamonds become
spreadable as butter
in a tub.
Let me off
at the next stop.


Lonesome Yard

There are nights
and then there are more nights
and nights after those nights
and nights again and again.
There are the nights between nights
and there is each night,
and all the nights, and just those nights.

Do not lean on the door
because I have seen devils out there.
Egg frittata with mushrooms,
piave vecchio, spinach, and cranberry
walnut toast. How startling and ordinary
the details are in the city of my life.

I could kiss your hipbone
while navigating the concavity
of your lonesome yard. 


Todd Colby is the author of six books of poetry, most recently
Splash State (The Song Cave, 2014) and Flushing Meadows 
(Scary Topiary Press, 2012). He edited the poetry anthology
Heights of the Marvelous: A New York Anthology (St. Martin’s
Press, 2001) and serves on the board of the Poetry Project.
He was the lead singer for the band Drunken Boat.


Published June 2017.