Bud Smith, 10/12

An Illustrated Book of American Songbirds


I don’t know what any of these things are called
Looking out the window
At the trees
I can pick out one
A pine tree
-alright, so I know what a pine tree is
I can look at all the birds swooping around
sometimes if there’s a blue one
I can say, “oh look, there’s a bluejay”
I suppose I could spot a cardinal too
or a seagull
other than that…

the people
I don’t know how to describe them
so I don’t
the names of all the clever bones in their faces
and elaborate connections to distant homelands
I barely know about this town
and only know about this town
because the names painted in BIG block letters
on the water tower
these details
they’re good to know
to reference right?

I should get myself an illustrated book of American songbirds.
I should get a comprehensive field guide to regional vegetation, too
low lying shrubs, weird grasses
fancy vines with neon flowers
I’m supposed to have all that stuff in here, aren’t I?

and the cars, I don’t know what any of the cars are
except the one I drive
I could tell you the make and model of that one,
all the others, I have no idea
so I should get a book on cars too
know all the Kelly Blue Book values
and projected mileage for each
it would help my writing dramatically

I’m going to get myself a current edition
of the Chicago Style Guide
and I’m going to carefully study it
until I understand what a semi colon
could possibly be used for
I get the impression that would really open new doors for me

And since my description of colors
is limited to the primary colors exclusively
With sometimes the word “neon”
stuck in there
I’m going to get myself a deluxe box
Of 1000 Crayola crayons and I’m gonna spread them all out on the floor
and learn the names of each of those colors
and I’m going to use them
to my advantage


sickness, disease, suffering
I should interview a nurse who works the night shift at the ER
that would be good for me
learning about all that
or I should just go to the ER tonight for some reason
let me look around
find a way to get myself hurt

I don’t really want to get myself into a motorcycle crash,
but I feel like that kind of thing would be good for my writing


Bud Smith is a writer living in Washington Heights, NYC and is the author of the short story collection OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. His work has recently appeared in The Bicycle Review. Red Fez and Citizens of Decent Literature, among others. Also, he likes beer more than soda and soda less than water. www.budsmithwrites.com or @bud_smith

Promote. Poetry.
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