Laura Putre
Another poem by Laura Putre

Keith Richards Is My Mailman

Accordion : Apartment :: Face : Werewolf Face
everybody in the apartments I have lived in

Exhibit 1: Male, 23, above the ceiling, sobbing into the floor.

Exhibit 2: Liz. Alleged boyfriend seen giggling and wearing only a Burger King crown.

Their voices get caught in the throats of the pipes.

Exhibit 4: Jim singing on the other side of the wall, heavy with plaster. Jim singing like an imaginary pet bird owned by the imaginary old lady on the other side of the wall. The wall heaves with Jim as you and I try to make love.

Someone stirring in a pan.

Exhibit Jim: I picture Jim in a birch chair like the pioneers used to lean back in as he whistles away the night.
Jim and his mother in an old photograph, his motehr a reflection of the bare, swept floors, the general spareness of the place, and Jim?s tightly packed belly. His mother?s scarf a reflection of his beard a reflection of his cigarette smoke.

Other people on the other side. One house is actually separate houses. Houses divided up. Subdivisions. Pieces. Chambers of the heart.

A house is a heart. We shear the heart but divide the chambers. We think we have our own place. But not our own heart.

Entering Linda?s apartment through the attic we find cat shit, like little hearts, scattered all over the floors. We find the cat wearing a ten-gallon hat, in the corner, sleeping with a shotgun. He is too weak to shoot. We cannot see his eyes. Food and water are good for a cat. Linda comes home and stands on the porch. She moves out and we move out.

Pipes run into themselves, more complicated than the stteets.

Fleas: We have fleas. Wonder if they do. Little baby angels.

The invisible man: The moment between classic rock being played and shut off is not even an instant. When you cut a piece of paper, you have two pieces and nothing you throw away, yet something must have been discarded to make the rift between the pieces.

Exhibit French: Some people in this world are from France. But peculiar things go on right here. I hear Brenda upstairs only when my shoer drips. Tonight Brenda is learning French. I know this because I hear ?drip? - ?swa voo plai?? Three times. Once in the voice of Clare, who works as a nurse in the day. Once in the voice of Bernard, a clerk at the same hospital, but wearing a brown suit. Once in the voice of Brenda, who never gets to finish her swa voo plai before Clare arrives with the next course.

This brings us up to the present time.

Laura Putre is from Cleveland, Ohio, though she has also lived in Wichita, Kansas. She writes for the Cleveland Scene, a weekly alternative newspaper. The above poems are republished with the permission of the author from The Trapeze Artist, # 7 in the Cleveland Leaves chapbook series from Buring Press, online at
All contents copyright The New Journal, 2002