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Friday, May 27, 2011


Photos by D.R. Wagner

Allison is a student of mine in my poetry by design class at UCD. I assigned her to write a poem in the style of Wallace Stevens. She chose his 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird as her model. What she submitted follows. I found it to be most excellent work.

Allison Ferrini

27 names for tears

In the style of Wallace Stevens


Tears are the dew

that is left on the heart in the morning


One two three tears

fell like diamonds

as cold

as clear

as valuable


“The important thing”

my mother told me

“is to pine beautifully”


She had an amaryllis

Kept it in a pot on the windowsill

And would sit near it

And cry

Water her garden with tears

And one day the flower died

“Too much salt”

And that night

So did she


If there are over 6 billion people worldwide

And one in seven cried yesterday

And one in three cried this month

What are the odds

That one chosen at random

Is drinking grief honey at this very minute?


Horses don’t cry

She said

They have no reason to


He cried when he got punched on the playground

And when he tripped, and the asphalt bit his knee

He cried when he burnt his hand stealing fresh-baked cookies

But those were outside hurts

When his father moved away

He only cried on the inside


Liquid memories fell from her eyes

Pearls are mermaid’s tears


The alien had spent too long on earth

It had assimilated

“I’m leaking!” it burbled

As tears ran down its smooth face


There was a drought

In a kingdom far far away

And they locked the princess up

Until her tears ran

Cool, clear, sparkling

And the people were happy


If a tear lands on a frog

It will turn into a melancholy prince

But with a kiss

He will be joyful and loving and kind

So be careful


It used to be that salt was expensive. People were happy then, and simple.

Then there was a time when it was kept in plastic shakers on all the tables and we laughed and cried freely.

Now, nobody can stand any more salt in their food. There’s too much to be sad about


At the end she collected her tears in a big black pot

Heated it up on the fire

And washed in it

And then she put on her coat

And walked out the door


There is the taste of salty sadness

And the bitter tears of anger

But what I like best is the sweet water squeezed out by laughter


Who needs artificial tears

When we have chairs with only three legs

Really bad hair days

Chunky peanut butter when we like it smooth

Sweaters nobody wants

Who needs artificial tears?


The army uses tear gas

as if bombs weren’t enough


an elf cries in silver tears

a dragon weeps in gold

witches eyes seep out dark red

but angels tears are most impressive

angels cry rainbows


“Don’t cry for me”

She said as she left

“I won’t” laughed he


elephant tears

giraffe tears

zebra tears

crocodile tears

she had the whole menagerie


You could tell she’d been crying

But she blamed it on the rain


Summer kisses

Winter tears


Every time I cry, I funnel it

into a cut glass bottle. Then I hang it on the window

and watch it cast rainbows

all around my room.

Sometimes it makes me feel better.


Eyes shining

She accepted


It’s just allergies he wheezed

High pollen count today

It’s snowing she said

Tell me the truth


She added tears to everything she baked

and always took home first place


The tears came like a flash flood




baby’s tears…a tragedy ?

or a flowering shrub?

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