two poems

by Madeleine Corley

After Richard Siken’s Logic

A pen is a tool. A hand is a machine. There can be
many faces despite a root cause. For example, take
zero. It lives between each letter as a hint
of want. A want is a tool. Its breath is a machine.
This is what they mean by simple. It requires little
to no thought. Thinking can be both tool and un
-oiled machine. An old car in the neighborhood’s
back alley refusing to start. Cars take maintenance
otherwise they revert to rest. Wouldn’t I, resort
to sleep? It is the simplest thing a body is meant
to do in life. A hand looks good languid
and draped across my eyes. The pen is asking when
it will graduate to fabled machine. Nothing good
comes from progress by the maker’s hand.
The fact of this bores some to disbelief. Disbelief is a tool.
Placation is a machine. A hand wrote placation
and saw how close it sounds to summer.
I can work with this, they said. Tell everyone
I am nice so they take another vacation
. This
is an argument about liberalism.


Under The Tuscan Sun

When Frances Mayes (Diane Lane) learns her husband is cheating on her from a writer
whom she gave a bad review, her life is turned upside down.—Google Movie Synopsis

I used this [as collateral] in a charades night with friends
[towards forgetting] and turned the hour [you
and I don’t make amends]
glass to pantomime
a woman alone [in that second, in this month,
in this life]
in her house, pointed to my femur
to imply [something too honest about recognizing] good
bones, strummed my throat as if [this was a Spring
in melody, water pouring
from a fountain after taking [love
like a windpipe drenched in]
another lover
in a grove of olives, postcard [tears]
from a sandstone window, and the group [I cannot remember
why we]
couldn’t figure it out,
not well versed in pop culture [and circumstance said
we weren’t built for Winter]
I guess, and this
was when I wished [that we did not start under]
the mistletoe]
that I hadn’t taught [you,
that December]
you my favorite romantic
comedy, pretended [when I said love]
meant nothing, that]
I was unaffected
and nonchalant when all I wanted was [you taking
my hand]
for you [was no more]
to me than]
to wonder the where
we could have [always] gone.

Madeleine Corley (she/her) is a song/writer by internal monologue and 1/4th of The Newsledder. Her work has been featured in HAD, Voicemail Poems, Olney, Moist, among others. Check her out at or on Twitter @madelinksi. One day she’d like to own a Mystery Machine. 


Artwork by: Joyce McCown