A Poem by James O'Rourke


Take it day by day

The continued advice that sticks in my head

Molasses oven-scorched until it's black and flaky

It's no difficulty then

I just need to find a way to keep my feet underneath

Climbing into a strangers bed and falling asleep while she showers

Dreaming that it was summer

The kids down the street squeal when they find a dead squirrel

Taking turns poking it with a tree branch

Awake and find her next to me

Breath soft on the pillow and hair damp

I want her eyes to open and her lips to part

into a smiling question

What did you dream about?

The next day I tripped and hit the ground

Face first, mouth full of grass and mud

Laughing as I roll on my back

The blood from my nose trickling across my cheek

And into my ear

My mother wants me to do something

With myself

And I want to do something

With anybody

At the hospital, Christmas toy organization is in full swing

Optimus Prime stands guard over a battalion of Barbies

I stare down into his poorly painted blue eyes

Thinking that if I had the ability

I'd morph into a truck and speed away

All the dolls as my payload

We wouldn't be able to do this without you

At home a bottle of beer keeps my hand cold

I grip it tight and turn it upside down

Draining as much or as little as I choose

It never asked me to explain myself

But it knows it can unsteady me

There's a story about a man

No matter how much he changed for the better

He was never any good

And then one day he woke up

Threw his legs over the edge of his bed

Finding that he had no feet

© 2015 James O'Rourke

Author's Note

James O'Rourke
Comments and criticism welcome...

My Review

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What wonderful imagery. Not only did I read it, I saw it. Great work.

Posted 5 Years Ago

I love it coming full circle, the emphasis on the simple fact of feet and the final metaphor of losing something so essential to progress or at least homeostasis. If the last three lines the first comment discussed are the ones that exist here still, I say no keep them, I think they make a hard-hitting, pitch perfect ending.

"It never asked me to explain my action" feels strange to me, maybe change it to "myself" or "actions"? Maybe I'm just confused by what you mean by action and what a beer might expect you to explain (or a mom or whatever)

This is my favorite one James. :)

Posted 5 Years Ago

James O'Rourke

5 Years Ago

Thanks for checking it out. I agree about the whole "beer bottle" stanza. I was running out of steam.. read more
I can honestly say I was riveted reading this; holding onto some really beautiful edge you've created here.It's a piece that could be read several times with no deprivation of nuance. It's great :D

Posted 5 Years Ago

James O'Rourke

5 Years Ago

Thank you for the kind words. It makes me happy that this piece is somewhat worth reading more than .. read more
So visual - I can definitely visualize everything so perfectly. I feel that I do end up having my own interpretation of this poem, but then I lose it at the last three lines. Or it could just be me, because I brain just doesn't "get it" when perhaps other people do. Or maybe I'm the one who is overthinking the last three lines. My interpretation was that he yearns for a life less mundane. I also thought that perhaps he was dreaming of a more "successful" life, whatever that may be, even though his life is already pretty good and simple....but really there's something lacking.

Posted 5 Years Ago

James O'Rourke

5 Years Ago

I totally agree about the last 3 lines. Honestly the whole last stanza kind of bugs me. Stared at it.. read more

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4 Reviews
Added on December 24, 2015
Last Updated on December 26, 2015


James O'Rourke
James O'Rourke

Tempe, AZ

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