By David Spicer
I regret not writing this
I regret not applying better
parental skills toward my eleven cats.
I regret I didn’t travel to the
Galapagos and their 200-year old
to Ireland to hear a barmaid’s lilt
singing Danny Boy,
to temples of chanting Buddhists
in Thailand, to cracking icebergs
of the Arctic.
I regret my shy nature, its
reluctance to engage with train station
My regrets could fill an
Earth-sized bowl. My regrets could be yours:
Did you steal a candy bar and
get caught? Did you French kiss
dates and regret it because they
bit you? I did and I don’t.
I don’t regret slugging my
father in the mouth the last time he pushed
I don’t regret catching my
mother telling yet another lie.
I don’t regret showing my twelve-year
old brother a Playboy.
Did you ever sneak a peek at a nude
I regret not watching I Love Lucy when my sisters giggled.
Maybe my humor would be more
Maybe I’d possess a Shih-Tzu’s
impatience with his human.
Then I could tolerate shrill
voices that haunt my sleepwalks.
I regret disliking rap
music—except for Ton Loc jiving Wild
I regret selling my off-the-wall
record collection to a dealer,
I don’t regret buying double
that number of cd’s because I’m
an audiophile who hears the
silence between a country singer’s notes.
I don’t regret blasting the
Byrds’ Turn, Turn, Turn in the dorm.
I regret I didn’t study as diligently
as many students—
not reading more Milton, Yeats,
Dante, and Shakespeare.
Now I regret not reading younger
poets—their insights may surpass
One night I pointed a gun at my brain
because my father hated me.
The gun called me a coward. I
didn’t pull the trigger: I don’t regret
I don’t regret avoiding the
draft and dodging a Cong bullet.
I don’t regret shooting a rifle
when forced to in the Air Farce.
I don’t regret eating too much
junk food in the barracks.
I regret not hiking up the
Sandias bordering Albuquerque.
I regret my life was a black
hole when I transmitted pilots the weather.
I regret I didn’t walk to the
off-base bookstore often and read more
I regret not tattooing a raccoon
howling at the moon on my left butt.
I regret getting cut from the tenth
grade baseball team.
The coach said I had the most
heart but the least talent.
He appointed me team flunky but
I quit, which I don’t regret.
I don’t regret fronting a guitar
player $35 a week after I met him.
He repaid me after I nagged him
I learned not to loan money to
friends or acquaintances.
Or books, or records, or movies.
Or to borrow from relatives.
I regret a coworker borrowed my
copy of Atlas Shrugged.
She returned it with her dog’s puke
stain on it, a testament
to the pup’s critical talent.
I’m glad it wasn’t a first edition.
I regret she apologized for her pet’s
taste. I don’t regret I laughed.
I don’t regret never apologizing
One time I fantasized garroting
an adversary. I won’t apologize
I didn’t apologize for yelling, Spit it out, Scates, when he stuttered
after pulling down a map, and
there she was, Naked Miss June.
I regret farting in college:
more than 20 roommates disowned me.
I plugged up the poots like a
dam-fingering Dutch boy.
My grandmother told me, There’s more room out than in.
My grandfather said, Pull my finger and make a wish.
I regret harassing a woman by
saying, Show me your tits.
I regret not knowing better. I
regret I wasn’t taught well.
I regret not learning quicker. I
I regret my narcissism, regret
not seeing all people are narcissistic.
Do you regret reading this? Will
I regret writing it? I don’t regret
writing anything. I have boxes
and boxes of regrets and non-regrets.
I don’t regret writing love
notes to women I’ve loved.
I regret not writing them to
women I could have loved.
I regret never having a mentor as
a young man,
my old man useless in that role.
No older brother.
I regret gravitating to males I
saw as fathers.
I don’t regret my own counsel. I
don’t regret despising lawyers.
I regret buying encyclopedias
from a door-to-door salesman.
I didn’t need those books, don’t
regret giving them to my brother,
who shelved them in his dark, melancholy
den. I don’t regret
never visiting him, because I’m
dead to him anyway.
Regrets are cotton balls with
Regrets are wounds that don’t
heal. Do you scratch your regrets?
Regrets are lonely shadows that lurk
in my loony brain.
Regrets are grey clouds that
reappear with moody weather.
Regrets, do I ever approach you
like a scruffy panhandler?
Tell me when you don’t want
attention like a doting aunt.
Regrets, do you think people
mean it when they send a Regrets card?
Can you tell me the last time
you felt compassion for a victim,
Should I regret not looting a
house or pissing on a midnight golf
not feeling the rush through my
body like a wheelbarrow of berserk
not running naked through a mansion
with a pillowcase full of stolen
not pissing in the 18th green
hole—ah, adrenalin, chock full of maniac
I don’t regret heckling a comic,
stealing a laugh from him.
He called me an asshole and I
told him he could lick me
where the moon
didn’t moan. I don’t regret
telling a professor she broke a promise
by assigning A students a term
paper. She frowned like Medusa
but I didn’t turn to stone. I don’t
regret murmurations, darkening
I regret the sea rising, I
regret my old girlfriend doesn’t call me,
but we haven’t slept together in
decades so she isn’t my girlfriend.
I regret I haven’t seen her. But
I don’t regret marrying the One.
There must be a god of Regret.
Give me a second. I’ll Google that.
Hades! Imagine that. I don’t
regret Google. I regret Facebook
deluded parrot ranches. Imagine
the gods of Twitterers and Frienders,
calling everything and everybody
amazing and awesome in Greek
I do and don’t regret flunking
Trig three times, I don’t regret not
getting an MFA.
I love my lack of an MFA. But
sometimes I do eat a regret morsel
like a cracker
crumb off the floor. I regret my
lousy study habits. I don’t regret
of discipline to snag a degree
that means I’m a sellout. I do regret
my sour grapes.
I played air guitar one night alongside
Bloomfield at the Fillmore
not strolling to a Village hotel
with a streetwalker who said, Hey
Babe, want some fun?
I regret not losing my cherry to
that pro I didn’t know. I regret losing
it to my uncle’s
woman after he egged me on to fuck
her. I did and he dropped her
like a dead cat.
I regret never sailing on a boat.
I could have imagined Ahab pursuing
his men scurrying like fish,
like manic clouds after they boarded their
by a captain who loved the sea
but hated the whale more. I don’t
hating continent-sized oceans
and the thought of drowning. Have you
regret not telling my father he was a redneck Buddha slob with
spaghetti gobs in his gut,
toe-to-toe to him the minute I grew taller than him.
I regret I had no finesse
child, lived inside my body wishing I could escape. But I wasn’t
Houdini, was I?
prisoner in my body but have no regrets. Regrets are fools
I no longer love.
regret endings must happen. I regret I’ll die some day. I regret
I don’t know
is. Do you regret that? Will you and I meet in the heaven
or hell of regrets
boilermakers trading regrets like kids with boxes
of blemished baseball cards?
will we suck black air after the alleged white light and regret
having believed anything?
regret I ignored my dying sister, a force of nature, the wind refusing
a cowboy’s rope. I wish
I had visited
her, but I was a sad owl lingering on a lonely limb.
Do you regret reading this?
you a sad owl? Do you regret dark sins? Like that tree swaying
with the breeze that’s
ghost of your vanished lover? Is there something you don’t regret?
Are you human, too?
David Spicer has published poems in The
Poetry Review, CircleStreet, Gargoyle, Moria, Oyster River Pages, Ploughshares,
Remington Review, Santa Clara Review, The Sheepshead Review, Steam
Ticket, Synaeresis, Third Wednesday, and elsewhere.
Nominated for a Best of the Net three times and a Pushcart twice, he is author
of six chapbooks and four full-length collections, the latest two being American
Maniac (Hekate publishing) and Confessional (Cyberwit.net).
His fifth, Mad Sestina King, is forthcoming from FutureCycle
Rosmus is a Jersey
girl who looks like a Mob Wife & talks like Anybody’s from West Side
Story. She works out 5-6 days a week, so needs no excuse to drink or do
whatever the hell she wants She’s been published in the usual places, such as Shotgun
Honey, Hardboiled, A Twist of Noir, Megazine, Beat to a Pulp, Out
of the Gutter, Mysterical-E, and Twisted Sister. She
is the editor/art director of the ezine, Yellow Mama. She’s a Gemini, a
Christian, and an animal rights activist. She has recently been branching out
into photo illustration, under the guidance and mentoring of Ann Marie Rhiel.