Poetry: Selections from David Sapp

The Origin of Affection

Dad’s suits
And shirts
Wrapped in
Dry cleaner’s plastic
Slid slippery
A deluge cascading
From the bed
To the floor
Mom fished
Hangers and all
From the closet
Pitched apparel
And him – so much
Chum overboard
There were other
Auguries in the storm:
Flying coffee cups
Distressingly incongruous
Torrents of profanity
My sister and I
Noticed in spates
The disappearance
Of hunting rifles
(And civility and
Attentiveness – humor
You’d think this
Would have done it)
Somehow suddenly
We apprehended
An irreparable inundation
And love sluicing
Away from the origin
Of affection

Cowboy Boots

That first Christmas
After our family busted up
Up icy rickety steps
In an upstairs apartment
Painted a sickly green
Because it was cheap
There were no stables
Or green pastures
Certainly no horses
To break – no cows
To rope and brand
Still my little sister
Got cowboy boots
Beneath the tree
She could only
Pretend to be a cowpoke
Riding her bike
Around the block
Over broken sidewalks
That first night
She wore her boots to bed
Toes hung over the edge
After finally falling asleep
Dad took them off
A few hours later
He looked in
And sure enough
She was sleeping
Dreaming with her
Boots on again


Silent in our fascination
But unanimous in our
Abhorrence of girls girls girls
On the first of many
Endless warm days
School let out for summer
Five or six of us tramped
Boldly through the woods
I don’t know why
(None drafted a rationale)
We shed our clothes
And swung from thick
Wild grape vines
Bald skinny boy bodies
Scrawny little savages
Flying through the jungle
Our plucky nakedness
An impulse an instinct
Quickened by a redolence
Of black soil moldering wood
The primitive rarely gleaned
From books or desks
A defiance against propriety or
A vague notion of naughty
An act secret from and
Which would certainly
Shock our mothers

This and That

In love
However unlikely
What if we
Simply relented
Unreasonable expectations
So much – too much
This and that
And gave all blather
The old heave ho
Embraced one another’s
Obsessions – imperfections
Our mutual suffering?
There’s no need
To prove our worth
We’ll chat aimlessly
At the kitchen table
We’ll make love
With the windows
Wide open
On bright afternoons
Outdoing each other
In passion only

I Surrender

Still shell-shocked
After the war
I surrender
(Though I never
Brandished a weapon
Relished a bloodlust)
A thoughtful abdication
Certainly I’m not
The contemplative monk
I’m now simply merely
A gadfly a shut-in
I relinquish you
I give in I give up
On you and you and you
My chum my acquaintance
My colleague my sibling
My hoi polloi my
Exquisitely flawed humanity
Quite frankly you
No longer measure up
(And apparently
Neither do I
However my expectations
Were low too low)
Let us enjoy capitulation
A mutual respite
A silent regard
Across the battlefield
That will do

David Sapp is a writer, artist, and professor, who lives along the southern shore of Lake Erie in North America. A Pushcart nominee, he was awarded Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Grants for poetry and the visual arts. His poetry and prose appear widely in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. His publications include articles in the Journal of Creative Behavior, chapbooks Close to Home and Two Buddha, a novel Flying Over Erie, and a book of poems and drawings titled Drawing Nirvana.


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