Author: jwalsh (page 2 of 8)

Day 22, ELJ 30/30 Write Now

Museum of the Poor


I’ve been to the forest–

and truly, I took the straight way home.

No matter.

I’ve been poor most of the time.


When she reads this letter

I will be back in jail.

I hope she will know

how I’ve gone to pieces

been down this hard hill

all to see her at home.


From cell to cell

I go: I am one of you,

I know.


(Source: Conscience Letter 319)

Day 21, ELJ 30/30 Write Now

To Whom I May Love



If not pure and rainbowed, what?


Love’s havoc

is a forest

of miserable

desperate things.


No signs back to

normal life.


The time: dateless.

The time: give up.


It concerns you, too.



(Source: Conscience Letter 331)


Day 20, ELJ 30/30 Write Now

The Contents of This Mailer



A guess a wedding a honeymoon an ex

A souvenir of my cleavage when it was new and good

The people you suspected and never found


A letter that just said Stop stop stop

That guard outside Gallup who told me I was hot who couldn’t resist

who wrapped up paper towels and made a gag

The anniversary of my exit



(Source: Conscience Letter 276(?))

Day 19, ELJ 30/30 Write Now

from September 27


About 20 yr ago

my husband + I took a vacation

This we pick up


my husband passed away 15 yr ago 49

having two heart attack

I lost 48,000   my home    my youngest son cut and beaten

I have had nothing but Bad Luck

I am sending this back

hoping the curse will leave


a widow with nothing but heartbreak



Houston, Texas


(Source: Conscience Letter 272, untreated)


Day 18, ELJ 30/30 Write Now

My Foolishness


In the late hours of an April afternoon

at the shop across from the hospital

I am waiting for an unlucky story to finish

They will tell me at last

what curse I suffer


I hope once more to see them

Italy     my daughter    the Painted Desert

the future greeting me with

time for my foolishness


(Source: Conscience Letter 405)



Day 17, ELJ 30/30 Write Now



What passed

in year since—

now             at last

now      is the time


I resist taking you

a piece of you


You belong

where you belong


and me

I go back to my kind


(Source: Conscience Letter 290)

Day 16: ELJ 30/30 Write Now

Pull the Loose Wire


I don’t think I need anything

that won’t work:

my radio

the van we took to Vegas

the telephone.

These won’t send you back

to me.  No,

no returning.

This first morning

is the last of me.


(Source: Conscience Letter 266)


Day 15: ELJ 30/30 Write Now

The Miserable Pure


Back to normal

in the miserable pure:

forests and rainbows

love not the desperate.

The things that reach me

are havoc

and rocks.


(Source: Conscience Letter 331)


Day 14, ELJ 30/30 Write Now

There and Nowhere Else



Thoughtless in August,

close to you

among ruins and paintings

with small loose pieces all around–


I tried

to stay embedded in you.

But you had no cause

to admire me.

I was one of many, the lowest.


I don’t know when I’ll be through that way again.

I am in no state to return.



(Source: Conscience Letter 143(?))

Day 13, ELJ 30/30 Write Now




The souvenirs of youth

are selfishness

and limits.


I am surreptitiously


in my enthusiasm

for pilferage.


I have removed

and removed.


In understanding

that what I have done

has exceeded


in that I am old.


(Source: Conscience Letter 302)


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