Hammond B3 Organ Cistern by Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Hammond B3 Organ Cistern
Gabrielle Calvocoressi

The days I don’t want to kill myself
are extraordinary. Deep bass. All the people
in the streets waiting for their high fives
and leaping, I mean leaping,
when they see me. I am the sun-filled
god of love. Or at least an optimistic
under-secretary. There should be a word for it.
The days you wake up and do not want
to slit your throat. Money in the bank.
Enough for an iced green tea every weekday
and Saturday and Sunday! It’s like being
in the armpit of a Hammond B3 organ.
Just reeks of gratitude and funk.
The funk of ages. I am not going to ruin
my love’s life today.
It’s like the time I said yes
to gray sneakers but then the salesman said
Wait. And there, out of the back room,
like the bakery’s first biscuits: bright-blue kicks.
Iridescent. Like a scarab! Oh, who am I kidding,
it was nothing like a scarab! It was like
bright. blue. fucking. sneakers! I did not
want to die that day. Oh, my God.
Why don’t we talk about it? How good it feels.
And if you don’t know then you’re lucky
but also you poor thing. Bring the band out on the stoop.
Let the whole neighborhood hear. Come on, Everybody.
Say it with me nice and slow
   no pills  no cliff  no brains onthe floor
Bring the bass back.    no rope  no hose  not today,
Every day I wake up with my good fortune
and news of my demise. Don’t keep it from me.
Why don’t we have a name for it?
Bring the bass back. Bring the band out on the stoop.


It’s three minutes to midnight. I’m barefoot and eating muscat grapes. Some green sweetness is dripping down the keys from my fingers. A bit of grape skin stuck in my throat tells me I am alive. It’s the little things, I think, that anchor me to this world. Hair caught in my scrunchie. Pen smudge on my thumb. The red blinking light in the kitchen that tells me I’m out of cold water. Some days, when they make their presence known, the discovery sets my whole body ablaze. I’M ALIVE, I want to shout from my balcony. I’M ALIVE I’M ALIVE I’M ALIVE.

No one tells you about the incredible pain of wanting to disappear and yet wanting to be the first thing your beloved sees in the morning when they wake up. How can I live two lives and see both to fruition? How do I reconcile with the self that yearns to be here and the self that wants to die? When I tell you I am wounded I mean the world has cracked open, there at the rind.

Every day that makes me get out of bed is a checkpoint I save as if I have an opportunity to come back later and redo my life after battling with monsters. Every day my feet touch the floor I know I have chosen not to meet my maker, at least not today. It is incredible what I would give to make sure the love of my life remains my love, remains my life. For example: eat breakfast. Take a shower. Not die.

Rocket Fantastic by Gabrielle CalvocoressiSOURCE

This poem appeared in The New Yorker, published in the print edition of the November 19, 2018 issue. Shared here with deep gratitude. Gabrielle Calvocoressi is the author of The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, Apocalyptic Swing, and Rocket Fantastic.


“Like nothing before it, in Rocket Fantastic explores the landscape and language of the body in interconnected poems that entwine a fabular past with an iridescent future by blurring, with disarming vulnerability, the real and the imaginary. Sorcerous, jazz-tinged, erotic, and wide-eyed, this is a pioneering work by a space-age balladeer.

“A dance of self-discovery, subverting our assumptions of gender and the body…Both innovative and sensual, Rocket Fantastic is a vital book for our time.”―Diana Whitney, San Francisco Chronicle


This little corner of the world is my passion project since 2005My commitment is that it will always remain free to all. If this place holds meaning for you, would you consider supporting it? This can be in the form of a cup of coffee (+ other ways).


Note that Read A Little Poetry may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through any links on this site. It is at no additional cost to you and helps in the upkeep of this space.


Thank you for being here all these years—and into the future—as I hold poets to the light.

Dear Friend

Read A Little Poetry is a passion project of poet T. De Los Reyes. It has been around since 2005. A thriving collection of great poems, this place holds poets to the light alongside experiences of being human.

Thank you for being here—for thinking about words, what they mean, and the weight they hold. This little corner of the world has always been a safe space for all to lean towards vulnerability, to hold on to poems as if anchors, as if wings.

Supported by readers

Join 3,000+ poetry lovers across 20+ countries

Never miss an update by getting poems delivered right to your inbox.


icons8 instagram 100icons8 facebook 100icons8 pinterest 100icons8 tumblr 100 1

Find a poem

Currently reading

Things and Flesh by Linda Gregg

“What if  / every time a flower forms in the mind, something gives it away to time?”

Browse older posts

“It sat there on the branch for a few minutes. / Then picked up and flew beautifully / out of my life.” — Raymond Carver

“Isn't that / like us, going from place to / place, looking to be alive?” — Victoria Chang

“it is a serious thing // just to be alive / on this fresh morning / in this broken world.” — Mary Oliver

"I love you. I’m glad I exist." — Wendy Cope

“It is raining now. / It is raining more than ever, / and you do not come in.” — Mahmoud Darwish

“Suddenly I realize / That if I stepped out of my body I would break / Into blossom.” — James Wright


"Beautiful – what a gloriously generous gift is this space of your feelings, words and the most precious of findings, soul-poems. Thank you, a thousand times." — R.

"What a goddess-send, this blog. Thank you for your candor and wonderful writing, and for sharing poems I might have taken years and decades to get around to discovering, if I discovered them at all…" — S.

“With poems I am not alone. Thank you for posting some of the best.” — J.

“Thank you for this absolute treasure trove of delicious words.” — B.

"I stumbled upon this page a long time ago on the search for a poem. I discovered multitudes. I bookmarked this page because I knew there was going to be a time when I would need it. Now is that time. I find myself in you and all those words. Thank you." — E.

“It’s like you have created a soundtrack for all our lives, only with poetry.” — A.

From my notebook

Dive into our exploration of famous poems about rain, from Joy Harjo's celebration of life to Louise Glück's meditation on love.

If you find value in the work I do and the poems I share, please consider supporting Read A Little Poetry.

“What intelligence a reader has must be exercised in the poetic game of hare-and-hounds, where ellipses mislead those who pursue sweet reasonableness.”