Three Poems by Todd Colby



todd author photo
Poet Todd Colby


Excerpted from Colby’s latest book, Splash State


Soothing Poem

I would like to settle the score

by brushing your hair until you go

into a trance from being soothed

by the gentle stroking of the brush

in my hand that provides the relaxing

sensation you so adore and crave.

Then I would like to make you a sandwich.

You’re exhausted. You tell me you’re

exhausted, so you should sleep;

and not worry that I’ll write on

your face with a Sharpie,

or devise some trick that will piss you off,

like building a fake body out of pillows

under the covers when you get up at night to pee,

or startling you in the morning

by hiding in the shower.

I’m beyond that sort of stuff

now that you’re here with me

letting me brush your hair.



Field Guide to Plants of the North

One of my summer favorites is Fink Leaf,

which is best used as a shout propellant; much

like a telephone, but without the batteries

or the acid. This fiery, medicinal leaf

can be used to dye clothing and treat ailments, like drama cough

or work fever. Try the Tumbler Bell Flower

for sleep passion; or Shark’s Paw for petroleum

gashes. In the shallow dirt near the shrubs around a house

foundation, find the Lime Seed for eye strain

and noise reduction (or enhancement). During the autumn months,

I always keep a satchel of Devil’s Paw handy,

in case of a gestural flaw, like giving finger

or blistering thumb. When winter rolls around,

I steep Blue Bonnet in a whiskey tea, which

is both sustainable and ecstatic; when used

to heighten conversation and observation.

For me, spring is the best time to roll out

the Flip Daisy: a round, slightly powdered

vacancy inducer, best used in 12-hour portals

for euphoric problem solving and garden wandering.

All of the above plants are rear stabilizers, meaning

they possess kinked alkaloids that groove to menace,

which is a lot like bathing in half air, half water.



Love Poem

My screen name is, “Fast Learner.”

I can use a computer and send links.

I’ve used a remote control, a microwave,

Microsoft Word, microfiche, a microscope,

Retail Pro, a chamois and a Swiffer.

I can identify fennel, rhododendrons,

wisteria, tulips, and overpronation.

I know that a red drink, known as a Shirley Temple,

is a real treat in certain circles. I know that

a bag of almonds does not constitute dinner,

though it has on more than one occasion. I know

that when I think someone wants to kiss me,

I’m usually right. I know that when I take too

many vitamins my stomach hurts. I’ve washed dishes,

and made eggs the French way. I’ve used Dawn, Clorox,

Diptyque, Serge Lutens, and Le Labo.

I’ve walked along the water, bumped the crap out of my head,

stubbed my toe on that fucking end table, and dusted under

the bed. I like Werner Herzog and chocolate granola.

I would like to get to know you better.


Todd Colby‘s latest book of poetry is Splash State (The Song Cave, 2014). He is the author of six collections of poetry, including Tremble and Shine (Soft Skull Press, 2004), Riot in the Charm Factory: New and Selected Poems (Soft Skull Press, 2003), and Flushing Meadows (Scary Topiary Press, 2013). He keeps a blog at