Silent Poetry Reading: If You Are Reading This by Lynn Levin

I first read this poem on Wednesday, October 26th of this year in The Writer’s Almanac, and on the second line, I realized it was set in Philadelphia. It must have been pulled from the Philadelphia Weekly or the City Paper, or at least written in that style.

Poem: “If You Are Reading This” by Lynn Levin, from Imaginarium.
© Loonfeather Press, Bemidji, Minnesota.

If You Are Reading This

GIRL WITH DOG IN RAIN! Sweetheart, where are you now?
Saw you at 16th and Walnut with your chocolate lab under an awning.
It was raining parking lights and car horns. I was the guy double-
parked delivering a tray of bagels to a corporate meeting. Nice stuff,
5 flavors, cream cheese and chives, butter daisies. Our eyes met, do you
remember? I can’t get you out of my mind. [Box 347]

OLD LADY AT QUIK MART. When I weighed your peppers, you
said I had my thumb on the scale, then you called over the manager
who yelled at me and docked my pay. You: Old bag in a tan overcoat,
muffler, purple pocketbook, evil eye. Me: Goatee, geek glasses, facial
hardware. Please give me the opportunity to stab you. [Box 1601]

CHAD, LET ME EXPLAIN. That guy you saw me with on R7
local on Columbus Day meant nothing to me. He’s just a commuter.
Your silent treatment is unbearable! I’m beggin’ you baby, come back!
[Box 776]

PENN CENTER ELEVATORS FROM 16th TO 30th FLOOR. I
want to push your magic buttons. I want to draw Mona Lisas on your
beautiful skin. You: Backless red dress, black heels. Me: Bald guy, 35.
We rode up together, you got off at 19. I was too shy to talk to you.
Now full of regrets. How about sushi or tantric sex? [Box 1446]

GUY ON R7 LOCAL OCT. 10, EVENING COMMUTE. You sat
next to me and suddenly it was Valentine’s Day. You liked my Offspring
button. I told you about med tech school. You let me take your pulse. It
was almost like holding hands. You: Hilfiger sweatshirt, laptop, got off
at Somerton. Me: Hip chick, red hair, Capri jeans. Let’s pick up where
we left off. [Box 777]

YO! YOU THERE ON DEERPATH DR. I’m the telemarketer you
dissed. Wasn’t selling you anything, SOB, just giving you a free estimate
on kitchen cabinets. I know your number and where you live. Call now
to apologize. [Box 961]

OFFICEMAX, FEASTERVILLE, YEAR AND A HALF AGO. You:
long black trenchcoat with three-piece suit. Me: Asian girl with black
jacket, wet curly hair, tight black pants, sunglasses on my head. You
stared at me a long time waiting at checkout. We looked at each other
as you walked out. Will renew until I find you. [Box 1674]

2 Comments so far

  1. suzanne (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 9:31 pm

    Holy crap! I LOVE this one, Marisa! Thanks for posting! A new favorite poem for my list.


  2. Marisa (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 9:39 pm

    Hey Suzanne,
    I’m glad to hear you like the poem. Thanks for posting the idea for this, I love it just as much.



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