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One Day I Hope to Burst and Be Full of Confetti

These poems were written between 2006 and 2009.

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The typeface is Sabon.



My Favorite Dog is Big Oatmeal, Often Coffee Nachos Wishes Happy, Close Thankful, And You Matlock Tomatoes The Future Was Five Years Ago The Uncertain Morning


5 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 7 8 8


Irrefutable Food is Fuel Thanksgiving Three Way Thirst Drowning To The Old Burger King Logo Husky A Call to Arms Meatball Sandwich Keebler Peanut Butter Cup Cookies Maidenform As I Open My Value Meal I Notice The Rachel Poem (In Your Eyes) Linguistics More Fun The New Dream

11 11 12 12 13 13 14 15 15 16 16 16 17 17 18 18



TV-DVDs Crispness Once I Was an Arrow... Sleet Two Onions Cocoon The Change Deal with It Save As... Fabric and Feelings The Cracks Let the Light In...


20 20 22 23 23 24 24 24 25 26 27


Think Immediate Friendly Farms Fountains I Know I Know I've Loved Three People Romantically Sky Mice Mike's Dad Chasing Your Tail Opportunity to Time Travel Performance Art Therapy Pigeon Care Bear Accord After the Divorce Life Affirming Rain

31 31 32 32 32 33 33 33 34 35 35 36 36 37 37

For Rachel, who'll encourage the living daylights out of you.



MY FAVORITE DOG IS BIG My favorite dog is big take me for a walk I promise we can wrestle glorious drool strings.

OATMEAL, OFTEN My favorite cookies contain oatmeal, often all sorts of cookies rather delicious, I must say a puddle of milk.

COFFEE My favorite drink is coffee oh my Jesus Christ! how you sanctify my soul cuddle up closer.

NACHOS My favorite food is nachos I just love nachos mouth, belly, and hand so happy I am not picky.


WISHES If I had three wishes first two were wasted I want a box of puppies snap, did it again.

HAPPY, CLOSE I prefer to be happy so many emotions I think I'll pick happiness or maybe despair.

THANKFUL, AND YOU A bucket of puppies, life could be worse a graveyard standing, the setting sun is hopeful words rush in amongst the leaves of fall a pretty tableau I know things and directions, and so do you.


MATLOCK The plot thickens, mornings spent watching Matlock most of my friends are doing okay things happen, that's just what things and happenings are you'd miss them if we were perfect perfect.

TOMATOES Sun dried tomatoes out of the resealable package dance on my tongue products from factories can still give us hope that we can one day be there and make them and give them to one another for real and reseal for later.


THE FUTURE WAS FIVE YEARS AGO Standing upon a tall building the gift hasn't arrived the check never came my pockets are empty and all the windows are open will this feeling go away once I have children? the future was five years ago.

THE UNCERTAIN MORNING In the uncertain morning, smiles will be shared and plans will be made milky coffee will be enjoyed and bills will be paid and the bright winter sun will shine through the window illuminating two figures, newspapers, and potentials in the uncertain morning, we are safe worries will be managed we both have had enough to eat and like kings, we make decisions from the throne we share in the uncertain morning we are safe for now.




IRREFUTABLE There is a belief, an understanding before all else that you are capable and this is important to remember when you are outdoors waiting for the bus in the snow or riding the elevator down, alone or while gathering all the stars with Mario you have capability.

FOOD IS FUEL I realize that this happy meal won’t make me happy, but it’s a pretty good start.


THANKSGIVING THREE WAY The three of us walked down a cozy alley anywhere, and there is a comfort we correspond as if as if one of us could be wearing a wig or one of us could expose themselves to us and that would be fine too.

THIRST One Morning, You broke camp and crossed enemy lines to find love. However triggered by thirst you retreated. So with an empty canteen between us, we thirsted together. Our fingertips touched as it passed back and forth, and with it every potential and impossibility. We baited traps for one another with olive branches and white flags. We were like two empty cups trying to fill each other up. It was how you say, A Feeling.


DROWNING I was trying to write a poem using drowning as a metaphor. You know how at the end of a relationship you fight, and care more about winning the argument than being truthful. Intimacy is rediscovered in candid attacks. Like two foundering captains bailing water into the other's boat. Not patching holes, or finding the source. Just working on drowning last. But the poem never fleshed out, I abandoned most of it to get one piece sharp. Then, the details took over and it got muddy and messy, losing it's purpose. Kind of like the relationship. Oh, that’s funny, Sorta.

TO THE OLD BURGER KING LOGO How I miss your cuddly pudginess with warm faded yellow and a lot surrounded by trees to your memory I get down on both knees.


HUSKY I was a bright husky kid who grew into an angry chubby teen and by the time I got muscles from the Army I had made my peace with the world so I faced it with fabulous muscles and a smile then one day it happened I asked her, Do you love him too? and she said, No and then, I don't know so I roamed the streets drunk empty and thinking okay, so this is how murder happens.


A CALL TO ARMS You get shit on a lot in life but shit's really good for growing things like roses so when it hits the fan, grab a bag take a shower and plant some fucking seeds!

MEATBALL SANDWICH If I were Jesus Christ I would have broken a meatball sandwich on that last night if I were Judas Iscariot I would have changed my mind then and there.


KEEBLER PEANUT BUTTER CUP COOKIES 100 miles from home and a jug of milk between us chocolate in every bite the whole box relieved and with it all of our problems.

MAIDENFORM Quit smoking man so we can outlive our wives and mack on eighty year old chicks together guilt free.

AS I OPEN MY VALUE MEAL I NOTICE This soda now has two straws in it and this McDonalds used to be a bank these are joyfully obvious.


THE RACHEL POEM (IN YOUR EYES) I cannot say how I feel about you because Peter Gabriel has a copyright on those words at Peter Gabriel Ltd. Mill Lane BOX, Wiltshire SN13 8PL United Kingdom.

LINGUISTICS I once became so exceedingly fluent in both anger and self-pity that I lost my native tongue but now I have it back and I think doing dishes helped and jogging.


MORE FUN The moon casts high-definition shadows at night that are just begging to be walked through but riding your bicycle through them too fast is funner.

THE NEW DREAM Figurative cuts leave figurative scars for strangers to stumble across so if your looking for me tonight I'll be at Burger King in the parking lot, under the trees living the dream practicing skateboard moves to beguile my age.




TV-DVDS It’s nice when friends loan you TV-DVDs because they are like getting a chunk of time well spent doing nothing and when your done you get to talk to them, your friends, about what you did and it sounds like so much.

CRISPNESS Some mornings when the last thing you want is to be bothered unbelievably good things arrive like a bottle of whiskey distilled on your birth year and sent to you from the future aged one million years.


ONCE I WAS AN ARROW AND EVERYTHING HAPPENED FOR A REASON, NOW I'M HERE I jerk soda in front of a large silver mirror behind a long wooden bar that I wipe down from time to time and nod to the customers from time to time what'll you have buddy? and the conversation I control they come in suits and dresses to catch trains they discuss the handling of things with conviction they think they're better I think I'm better sometimes there are glimmers but it doesn't matter we're all too busy passing time waiting for nothing you know?


SLEET It's still cold and you hate me a bit and I hate me a bit too and it's good to at finally agree on something and you loan me your scarf and I wait outside for the pizza guy and I think about how nothing's cute anymore and I complain to the pizza guy about the cold and he complains to me about the parking and then I go back upstairs and only watch as we both do the same exact goddamn thing.

TWO ONIONS And in the morning I try to drink more coffee to make things better and in the fridge I open it looking for something to pull me out and I crack a beer and I've got a warm mug in one hand and a cold can in the other and now both my hands are too full to do anything so I turn on the TV with my right ring finger and remember you're still sleeping so I turn it down and it angers me to turn it down and not because I don’t like being considerate but because it reminds me of last night and the night before that and the one before that and how there is a major problem compounding and how I feel too weak to fix it yet strong enough to avoid it so I think that all is lost and I shouldn't even try now. So I sip my beer and coffee and it makes me laugh when I think about what I must look like sitting there with my two drinks and I want to run in and share it with you. But now there are these layers between us that I cannot cut through, like we are both trapped inside two giant onions and we can't free ourselves without crying for no good reason.


COCOON Okay, Okay? Ok.

THE CHANGE Awake alone no not alone and through the trees above, Level 2.

DEAL WITH IT First Sergeant said when you’re up Shit’s Creek build a bridge and get the fuck over it life ain’t lemonade or some shit.


SAVE AS... I never intended to write a poem about the importance of the tangible and the intangible but this morning before work I was looking at pictures of train depots in rural France on Flickr dot com a random contact asked me to join their photo group for some specific type of orange colored steam train and that's how I ended up looking at these pictures of French depots in my underwear in a cold apartment before work with Rachel asleep in the other room and I thought you can spend your whole life doing nothing and you can spend your life doing something yet it still feels like nothing and maybe that's why God and sex are so popular but I don't know I just kept clicking on the pictures and saving them to my computer.


FABRIC AND FEELINGS There are machines you'll never know like when I was in basic training near the end feeling proud and feeling lost like I had at the beginning but better and I looked down from the hill at the dozens of barracks on base the buses were just coming in delivering the new recruits still in their civilian clothes picked out from stores in their hometown and I thought about the mixture of people and places fabric and feelings and how there must be a mathematical equation to explain all of this but there isn't.


THE CRACKS LET THE LIGHT IN, THE LIGHT GROWS THE FLOWERS, AND THE FLOWERS ARE WHAT WE EAT We walk together under the cables and lights laughing out loud in dark dark humor as the summer's ease has been replaced with snow and you tell me that this time of year it feels like we deserve our dissatisfaction or something like that so we stay inside online searching for and finding exquisite mediocrity not talking not learning just going hmmmm and raising the bar a little wondering why we're still bored the only teamwork we can muster is scouring craigslist hoping that someone out there needs an abstract painter or a poet or something like that for some transformative reason: a new hope

a light

a dream

but they don't nor ever will ROFL.




THINK IMMEDIATE Life it's really about the twelve closest people to you and how you affect them everything else they tell you is pretty much crowd control.

FRIENDLY FARMS I like my coffee hot and black with a good pour of ice cold cream I find the ensuing compromise of color comforting as I walk cup in hand to your house just for fun and I like that we don't have as many conflicts as we used to but that neither of us has given up or given in It's like when I look into my cup I see the swirling cream and then it's gone.


FOUNTAINS This was going to be called a heartbreaking work of staggering sadness, but it's not, not when twenty-seven years of side-splitting listlessness sounded more appropriate. Youth isn't lost or stolen it’s bargained away upon an endless succession of trades. It seemed a good deal at the time, well it probably was. Now when I walk past fountains in the mall I remember a person who'd stick his foot in deep to prove to himself the wonders of freewill. But now I'm too worried about bills and the maintenance of my things to deal with the freedom of a wet foot.

I KNOW I KNOW I was like, "Psh." and she was like, "Psh." and in the end we were both like, you know, "Psh." I'VE LOVED THREE PEOPLE ROMANTICALLY The first because I lost myself and it felt good to disappear the second showed how pheromones can draw two people near and the third taught me how to inspire the world that I hold dear.


SKY If I had a motorcycle I’d get a hang glider and put them together. So when I’m riding through the National Parks I can push up the nose to catch the wind and take off over valleys and trees, out in empty places, and finally think clearly. But, maybe I’d get lonely. So I’d replace the motorcycle with a horse. Then, when I push up the nose, I just have to squeeze my thighs together and we both can go up and out together. A man and his horse.

MICE While the country mouse and the city mouse argue on television the forest mouse builds a tree house learns to make jelly for his family and talks with his friends about perception and passion.

MIKE'S DAD Mikes dad is so cool he honestly is one day I texted him, “Hey Bruce! Nine Eleven didn't happen!” and he was like, “I know! LOL!” Some people just understand other people and it'd be a waste of time to figure out why. 33

CHASING YOUR TAIL One time I felt so rejected by other people's love that I fell in love with myself to prove it was at least possible and since then neither man nor woman nor beast has been able to come between us but now when I lie in bed with him the streetlight becomes a searchlight and we start thinking about our single silhouette and where we've given up I stretch to pull the sheets over us and try not to wake him he gets so angry now and I just don't have it in me tonight secretly I wish for a man or a woman or a beast to come and take me away from me and onto selfless adventures where the things of life come in pairs again and we can try on each other's futures and we'll laugh just for fun and we'll climb onto the roof to watch our ghosts leave through the skylight one by one.


OPPORTUNITY TO TIME TRAVEL So I was about to leave for work but got stuck standing at the door staring at some bags on the ground. I’d always imagined that one day I’d have my finances in order and take care of problems as soon as they arrive. You know, live my life free, because I solve my problems with vengeance, instead of trying so hard to generate justifications. So I broke my stare and bent over. I reached down and picked up two bags of garbage and took them downstairs to the dumpster. Then, I made the long trek back upstairs and took out the third bag. Because that’s what the me in five years would do.

PERFORMANCE ART THERAPY Last night I had this dream where I showed up late to work. There was a horrible mood in the air as everyone looked up at me. So dug into my coat pocket and pulled out a box cutter, and slit my wrist. The correct way; down the river, not over the bridge. The blood rhythmically oozed out like paint. To everyone’s interest, I ran it around the front of my white shirt. Then, dropping my arm to the side I revealed a red cartoon smiley face. My wrist the pen, my blood the ink, my body the canvas. The office workers paused, and then erupted in empathetic laughter. Their current feelings artfully performed out in front of them. The mood improved. They all shook their heads and smiled as they returned to their labors. I'll be darned Lueders, I'll be darned. Oh, the healing power of art!


PIGEON It was a mild November and I was walking around the city in a sweater lost in thought. I was trying to formulate a poem about how lifelong cell phone ownership is tantamount to riding a bike and never taking off the training wheels, when I saw a pigeon with only one foot. I could tell he was in horrible pain. He hopped up and down to avoid touching the cement with what was left of his leg. I pictured the fresh nerves twitching inside and wanted nothing more but to kick him under the oncoming bus. Not to ease his suffering, but to end mine. Then I thought, why do we really do nice things?

CARE BEAR ACCORD It blew my mind when it clicked: Big problems are another name for small problems ignored. Kinda like how white lies sometimes accrue interest or dreams get differed and grow mold behind the fridge. For most of my life I believed that no conflict meant no problem. Well hot dog. It's like when I was teenager. I thought that war was simply a mixture of fear and ignorance. A problem of the heart and mind. That war means hate and peace means love. Call it the Care Bear Accord. Then it clicked, war is another name for when the rich are granted access to an army. Usually because there is a plan that necessitates a land grab. Well hot dog. Oh and that morality is an invention by the powerful to make the masses predictable, but maybe that’s a bridge too far this evening.


AFTER THE DIVORCE Once the hullabaloo was over I had to convince myself that she was crazy and I was perfect It kept my spirits up and allowed me to press on with my mission and maybe propaganda for wars is like that too but I don't know I'm just glad to be thinking clearly again.

LIFE AFFIRMING RAIN I once ran so hard that I lost control of my bowels and peed down oceans of life affirming rain into my running shorts then I went inside and made a bucket list and checked off the first one.


Joel Lueders, born 1982, graduated from the U.S. Army Ordnance School with distinguished honors, and has a bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Minnesota. He writes poems to read during those moments of bewilderment, when you've lost the answers, as well as and the questions. When not in the forest, he can be found dreaming about her in Minneapolis with his girlfriend the painter, Rachel Mayer.

One Day I Hope to Burst and Be Full of Confetti  

The poems of Joel Lueders

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