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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, April 20, 2016.
About this Poem 

“Voicemail greetings are sort of a lost art because we mostly text now. My favorite greeting from a friend in college was, ‘blah, blah, blah, leave a message.’ In this poem, I hoped to evoke an actual apparatus in a bedroom making all its clatter to then be followed by something different than what a bill collector leaves.”
—Carmen Gimenez Smith

Default Message

I have thirty seconds to convince you
that when I’m not home, my verve is still,
online or if I’m sleeping when you call,
sheep are grazing on yesterday’s melodrama.
Does anybody know what the burning umbrella
really meant? Forget it. Tell me what you need.
Leave me a map. Leave me your net worth
for reference. Leave me more than you ever planned.
Frankly, I’m anxious your message will be a series
of blurs, that you’ll leave the endearing part out,
garble your confession: A misstep here, a domain there.
A ventriloquism. The phone is in the kitchen,
but I’ve lost my way. It must be hunting season.
I retract every last gesture for your same retraction.

Copyright © 2016 by Carmen Giménez Smith. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 20, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Carmen Giménez Smith. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 20, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Carmen Giménez Smith

Carmen Giménez Smith

Carmen Giménez-Smith is the author of Cruel Futures (City Lights Publishers, 2018) and (Milk & Filth (University of Arizona Press, 2013).

by this poet

poem
                    Adam Smith
 
Every poet glistens with the dew
of money, but surely only some of them
truly have it. Never enough, wanting to know
what enough felt like, I buy fake versions
of the things I want on credit, my shelves
poem
all of my belongings in the box       of my room
enumerated are        books and pages the stench of evening body
the halo hair on my daughter’s sketch of us  glass of flat diet pepsi
clips of words
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Simultaneity and Good Exposition are impossible in film and TV!
 
Workplace shows tout hypercompetence and workaholism!
 
Soap operas and sitcoms are the genre novels of television!