Daniel Simpson

American Girl and French Boy Take A Walk

(listen to the poem, read by the author)

The sun is lowering a basket of light
down into the treetops,
and French II seems so far away.

She recalls her favorite word, the one for ‘grapefruit.’
“Je veux manger du pamplemousse,
je l’aime bien, je l’aime beaucoups.”

If she said that, could he get past the words,
forget everything he knew,
dive straight into the sound, and live in that?

And of course, she must tell him everything–some day, at least–
that it also makes her think of  “pimply moose”
(every beauty having its own beast.)

She makes their arms swing as they walk,
and she thinks, “Pamplemousse ”
rhymes with ‘it’s no use’.”

He holds her hand.
So they have that–
the language of touch and silence.

They smile a lot and he tries to talk.
“Shhhh,” she whispers,
a word they have in common.

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Love Note

(listen to the poem, read by the author)

“Yes, we have no bananas.”
(from a popular song of 1923)

You are gone, but the house is still full of you:
the soft sculpture of the sheet and blanket
just as you left it,
your forgotten cell phone on my night stand,
the round aroma of the soup you made yesterday
still hovering in the corners of my upstairs office
where I am writing this.

I thought I had no more poems in me today
than the most famous song about bananas has bananas.
And maybe I still don’t.
But I have a blind man’s pictures, memories in every other sense.
Maybe even the sound of your breathing, if I’m quiet enough.
Maybe even the taste of you, a faint secret in my mouth.

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We All Have Something of the Poet in Us

(listen to the poem, read by the author)

which is why
the bookstore clerk
passing through aisles
of Danielle Steele
and waiting for new words
has stopped telling her boyfriend
that she loves him

and why the crane operator
who would take the Phillies
over Frost any day
nevertheless searches his mind
before resigning himself to
the names already used up
by previous lovers.

We all want
a new language,
to smell
the musk of sex
for the first time
every time,
to touch the new one’s skin
clean of history.

Let us pray for poetry
that begins in love
and then moves outward.
May it fill the mouths
of all who love.

“My dancing tumbleweed,”
the crane operator will say
to his wife on a Sunday walk.
And the bookstore clerk, leaving for work,
will embrace her beloved in the kitchen.
“Oh, my hot skillet,” she will say,
“my deep, deep fryer.”

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About the Author

Daniel Simpson’s School for the Blind was published in 2014 by Poets Wear Prada. He and his wife, Ona Gritz, co-authored Border Songs: A Conversation in Poems (Finishing Line Press, 2017), and collaborated as poetry editors for Referential MagazineThe New York Times and numerous poetry magazines have printed his work. The recipient of a Pennsylvania Council of the Arts fellowship, he tends a blog at https://insidetheinvisible.wordpress.com/.