Two poems by Hal Sirowitz

Invisible Cage

When I look at a monkey,
according to Darwin, father said,

I’m supposed to see man
in his infancy, living in caves,

not yet the inventor of the wheel.
But what I see is the cage

preventing him from obtaining
freedom. When I look at you

I don’t see the beginning of men,
but rather its end. I keep wishing

you can see your cage, the bars
you’ve created by not having enough

confidence. Your spit is as wet
as any other man’s. The only

difference is he keeps his inside
his mouth where it belong and yours

slip out, changing its essence, becoming drool.


Heavy on Adverbs

I know what’s wrong with you,
father said, lack of adverbs.

You never use them. You act
like the typical waiter at a Chinese restaurant,

agreeing with every selection
of the customer’s order, never once

asserting yourself, like recommending
garlic shrimps. If the customer

doesn’t like them, it’s not your problem.
It’s time to call in the taste police.

There’s nothing they can’t fix
by adding some hot sauce. It’s

like modifying the verb,
not leaving it bare for all to misinterpret.

More poetry at Used Furniture.


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