You Don’t Say, free verse by @jackaurquhart

©2014 by Jack Andrew Urquhart


People say the damnedest things,
people meaning, you, of course—
say you can’t stand your mother,
whose definition of trauma
is a frizzled permanent wave.

Say that your children’s lunacy
makes of you a mental slave,
that their pecuniary dramas
bore you to bankruptcy.



Say you’d like to weed them—????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
these bush-league blossoms—
from the rose garden
of your verdant dreams.

Say anything, in fact,
to blunt the prick and prickle
of these thorns in your side.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????You don’t say
truth, of course:
that love is petulant
as a posy,
flagging and flowering
to the whims                                                           of temperamental climate;
that devotion can be cruel
and constant,
one day nurturing as a spring shower,
all drought and idle threats
the next.


You don’t say
the worst is complete conceit,????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
not a ghost of a chance
you’d follow through.

And so, your words
come back to haunt you—
every shade of hubris
every bald-face lie.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????You don’t say
it serves you right,
damn fool!

To think that you
could make a master gardener,
to think that you
(of all people!)
could coax bouquets
from a briar patch.


About jaurquhart

Jack Andrew Urquhart was born in the American South. Following undergraduate work at the University of Florida, Gainesville, he taught in Florida's public schools. He earned a Master of Arts degree in English, Creative Writing, from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he was the winner of the Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Award for Fiction (1991). His work has appeared online at Clapboard House Literary Journal, Crazyhorse Literary Journal, and Standards: The International Journal of Multicultural Studies. He is the author of So They Say, a collection of self-contained, inter-connected stories and the short story, They Say You Can Stop Yourself Breathing. Formerly a writing instructor at the University of Colorado’s Writing Program, Mr. Urquhart was, until 2010, a senior analyst for the Judicial Branch of California. He resides in Washington State.
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1 Response to You Don’t Say, free verse by @jackaurquhart

  1. Ah, Jack, so poignant. I think all of us have experienced something like this.

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