Two Poems by Marti Irving

Home Improvement

Amongst the implied violence
of the chain and rope aisle at Home Depot,
I am emboldened to make let’s-fuck eyes at strangers.
Then the soft amber of the lighting fixture section
wrings me out and I want someone to please come
and pick me up, pluck me from a mean girls’ sleepover,
drive me home and put me to bed. I want to be carried
up the stairs like groceries. Instead I buy a big orange bucket
so I have something to hold. Even if a poem is just a cartoon
doorway to reality, I still feel it in my thighs
like a wall sit. I go to the disc-golf course
to sulk. The wildlife preserve is closer
but it’s called the Great Dismal Swamp
and feels too obvious. It’s mosquito hour, the air
amniotic and harried. In the gazebo’s shade,
athletic people do burpees on the grass
to a club remix of Black Betty. A woman
with a metal detector is sifting through the wood chips
of the playground and I say hello! to her as I pass
and she says hello! waving and then I found a ring!
she says, holding it up for me to see.


I Write a Nature Poem and It’s a Love Poem


to the slope of mottled grass by the drainage ditch.
I shout Rebecca! Rebecca! in a crowd
and it’s a love poem to all the Rebecca’s
in the crowd and to every Rebecca the crowd
has ever encountered. I choke down a multivitamin
and it’s a love poem to a tiara of indeterminacy.
I wild around the manmade lake and behold
a love poem to an algae bloom, pulsing, at the pitted
throat of the geyser. I sit around and do nothing,
a love poem, still, to the spongiform faultlines
criss-crossing my body even now,
especially now. In the bathroom mirror, I wince
at the love poem, at its asymmetries, at the violence
of its circuits done both to it and with its own
consenting hand, the hand, of course, a love poem
to the half moons of the nails and to
the eight avian carpal bones of the wrist
and to, I guess, the rest of it which follows quietly
yet not without ceremony.


Marti Irving is a poet and bead enthusiast living in Brooklyn with three black cats. Most recently, their work has appeared in No, Dear Magazine and Pigeon Pages. Find them on Instagram at @marti_irving.docx

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.