A Post-Hiatus Sestina!

Hello, hello! Greetings and salutations! After finally recovering from #100Days100Poems, we return today with a poem using one of my favorite forms. Look forward to weekly (or so) updates: new poems, prose pieces, culture commentary and the like. Feel free to share this post, and let me know what you think!


Is the Commute a Place for the Comm or the Mute?

And the first time we spoke was on a crowded
subway car and it was no accident
that I managed to untwist my tongue
long enough for an awkward hello to rise
from the timid lockbox that keeps me separate
from normal human interactions, where I am out of sync.


on most occasions where the M.O. is to sink
into myself, better hanging on to straps of crowded
thoughts, I instead jostle human to human to unseparate
my voice from your ears, your song from mine. No accident,
then, that in a few moments of foolish bravery or brave foolery I rise
to move from here to you, green light to expressive tongue


And tied it is, this cottoned, hesitant tongue,
where a life vest is not enough to stop me sinking
into my sea of doubt, bay of disbelief–and still I rise
from this too-tight seat on an underground train, crowded
with commuters & dancers & panhandlers. I have accidentally
convinced myself that words will not keep us separate.


and this end of the car, the score of bodies separating
us & our initial contact, our first wordsembracekiss, lips & tongue
dancing as if colliding in some mass transit accident
and I wade through the swamp of passengers. My heart sinks
as at first I struggle to make it through the crowd
of head-phoned, book-nosed, ear-budded, phone-focused mass. Hope rises.


And as I clamber through a bipedal jungle, as eyes rise
from my solitude to your ‘well, come over here’ glance, I begin to separate
this lumpy undesirable frame from the train crowd,
thought bubbles morph into speech bubbles as ‘hello’ moves from brain to tongue
and my only thought is how to sink
into the seat beside you, willing a welcome happy accident


or derailment– re-setting my course to you through accident
or crash through crowd and car, too. Rise
bold and brave in your vision–how I want to sink
into you, merge, mingle, marry, so as not to be separate
whether connected by hand or heart tongue
finding each other on a local, rush hour train, delayed and crowded

And as my tongue rises, clicks a tsk to roof of closed mouth, I sink into my seat.
It is no accident that this crowded commute insists on keeping us separate.




© David Siller – 2017

When the Freeway of Love zooms to a dead end.

The Transporting Nature of Nostalgia

    I miss the days of being stuck at


        that great white stripe, three, four lanes across

     from which we all get to go

        protected left on arrow, protected right on arrow

            red yellow green—safety in

                order, order in


Nowadays we’re all on the great concrete way

    fancy German sports sedans blazing

        on the right

past old American hand-me-downs

    poking and prodding along left lanes left

        for passing

& overpasses, overpassing the common volk & the homeless folk

        the strip mall windows and drive-through hopes

     overpasses over the traffic light democratics

    open lanes for overtaking and overbraking

    I miss the days of underground trains and

        on-the-ground buses, their keep-me-in-touch-

        with    humanity    hanging on to

this black strap, that cross bar

            offering my seat to the blue-haired lady

        or the hunched and forgotten vet, my

    reach to the heavens and hanging strap

                to over stand these passengers

    and this public transport transporting

        to overstanding

                        beyond the Big Budget Expressway, costly toll

            for the         mega-traffic, stock still

            as the         mega-steeple

            and the         mega-cross

            from the     mega-church

                mark time and distance to making it


        The Big Concrete Way: the Parking Lot of the Future

            always between exits, never getting to speed

    I miss the days of walking blocks, strolling hat-tips to

            friends, friendly hellos to vendors and

        vagrants and visitors and café-seated voyeurs

    I miss elbow bumps and excuse mes and

        lovely days and walk signals and don’t walk waits

            and pretty dresses and shiny leather shoes

                and setting my own pace and avoiding

        dog droppings and paper crumples and ice patches

            and even the occasional “you dropped this”

            or “no after you”

            or “could you tell me how to get to —”

At what cost the Freeway, with its perpetual deconstruction-construction

    orange cones lining narrow lanes and late-night delays

where speed limits jump and cruise controls shudder

    where parkways are


                5AM to 9AM


                    3PM to 7PM

    moon day to fried day

            speed on down, speed on down the road

        past these people and these problems

            past these parties and this progress

        speed on down, speed on down the road

            Don’t you carry nothing that might be a load

                what with the exits not clearly marked and all