(Verb) Thinking of too many things at once.

No. 2 

There are too many things to write about, 

too many things to bleed out onto a page

so they don’t sit in my veins like too much caffeine

making my fingers twitch and my mind race. 

There are too many things to think about 

most of them are you

and the way you feel like the first hot day in spring

when all I can do is put on a sun dress and bask 

because it’s so nice not to be cold. 

There are too many things to love about you, 

like how you make me feel like sound of train horns on summer nights, 

and falling asleep under a sky filled with the milky way

while the pine trees whisper and sway. 

"Adventures at the Library" - A Photoessay by Erin Carlson 

"Smack", "Surprise Parties", and "It’s Hard to See Around Corners" written by Erin Carlson 

No. 1

I’d like to take you to Sevilla.

   in the springtime during semana santa

when the orange trees blossom

      and shower petals like snow

         on the crooked cobbled streets.

 We’ll go out at night,

    hands clasped as we blend

into the crowd-lined street processions,

  both of us unnerved by the penitentes

    in all white that look like the klan,

but marveled by the near silent crowds

    made up of the whole city

          and the legions of trumpets.

Then, as the night deepens,

      we’ll slip away from the whole city

 to wander down crooked streets

        in a shower of orange blossoms and moon glow.

I will forget to document anything with my camera

       or the pen I carry to snare stray poems.

Instead I will brush the flowers from your hair

    and inhale our combined scent of honeysuckle and safety,

all the while thinking of how good adventure looks

        coating the soles of our shoes,

and that home resides inside our interlocked fingers. 

Erin Carlson 

NaPoWriMo Reflection

For a reflection on NaPoWriMo written by myself and my fantastic writing partner sister friend follow the link! Thanks to everyone who read my poems! 

3 months ago -

Summer Break

The deadline is looming, 

slumped over my future like it’s always been there, 

ready to devour my time.

I can’t find it in me to care,

not when there is so little left to be done.

Just two weeks, 

two measly weeks, 

and I will no longer have a reason 

to buy school supplies come August. 

There will be no more midterms or projects, 

no need for sharp No. 2 pencils and blue books. 

But I don’t let it bother me.

Instead, I make a school supply list, 

and imagine up my own syllabus.

Come September I may not have any school to attend, 

but my desk will be fully stocked, 

and my mind once again cleared out

to make room for new things. 

By Erin Carlson 


When I came over on Tuesday

I brought avocados.

Three to be exact,

because taco salad

is just no good without it.

By the time we got to making lunch,

one had mysteriously vanished,

and the other two were not actually ripe.

We ate one any way,

left the second one to ripen,

and mourned the loss of the third.

When I crashed at your place on Friday,

you couldn’t stick around for long,

but I found the lost avocado.

It had rolled out of its bag

and slipped in between

my passenger seat and its door,

snuggled in tightly with the recliner lever.

It, of course, was perfectly ripe.

Just this side of mushy,

and easy to pit.

I mashed it into guacamole for breakfast,

adding cumin and garlic salt and lime juice.

It was delicious, so I left half behind for you.

Then I flitted about the kitchen,

chopping veggies and washing dishes,

imagining you there with me,

telling me all about your camping trip

and the new recipe you’d tried with the second avocado.

By Erin Carlson 


I ate my farewell cheeseburger

in the parking lot of the neighborhood

fair-trade-locally-sourced coffee shop.

I had planned to leave town

with a mouth tasting  like

a magic 75 cent day old turn over.

Something funky and locally grown

like basil and strawberry,

or peanut butter and apple.

But I was thwarted by an early afternoon closing time,

and missed my chance.

Not yet prepared to leave town,

(because it still feels a bit like home

even now that I’ve left for good)

I fell victim to the siren call of a fast food curly #7,

the memories of late night cheeseburgers,

and your loving introduction to Hardee’s.

I couldn’t bare to eat in the restaurant,

every booth reminding me of some conversation or an other

about your crazy coworkers, or my fledgling newspaper articles.

So I got my cheeseburger to go and ate it in my car,

where it was easy to imagine you next to me

eating a cheeseburger and people watching through the windshield.

(I tried not to think about the other things,

like how neither of us will live here again,

or how unprepared I was

to visit my once-and-future college home

now that it has become once-and-former,

or how in just a few weeks

graduation will scatter most of the

college home we had to come back to. )

I ate my curly fries one at a time,

dipping each one in ketchup

and chewing it slowly.

When they were all gone,

I crumpled up the to go bag and left town,

the wind howling past my doors. 

Driving Directions

The GPS will tell you to take the big roads through town.

Ignore it, the neighborhood route is better: down Fair Oaks, past the eastside DMV, to where the you can board the highway at a simple four way intersection rather than the 6 way monster your GPS will guide you to.

Speed increases quickly, but don’t bother with cruse control until you’ve past the last two traffic lights and taken the death trap corkscrew on ramp to the highway running north.

Don’t be alarmed by the road kill, there isn’t more then normal, it’s just finally spring time so there is no snow to cover up the mangled corpses. There will still be animals left after the highway has taken its tributes.

The road will curve gently, swaying back and forth in a slow dance with the sky.

Sometimes, the trees will have leaves, but for now they are just lacy silhouettes, who will not distract you from the fun details like the purple gravel lining the highway hosting a bald eagle pecking at road kill.

About 50 miles out you will need to change the radio. Finding a country station is easiest, but holding out for the classic rock is more fun.

Keep driving north and the curves will end, leaving nothing but a long highway stretching before you a picturesque landscape of farm fields and cloudy skies.

By the time you reach 30 miles out, you’ll be bored of watching the highway and every song on the radio. The clouds will fill up the sky, some fluffy, some dark, all of them interspersed with sunbeams, and the bright rainbow of colors the sky turns as the sun starts sinking to kiss the horizon.

The sky to the west will look like an opal, but you mustn’t let it distract you

because you are finally close enough that there are other people on the highway and you’ve made it too far to crash before you arrive.

Take the second exit into town, it gets you there fastest, and you avoid the one ways.

Stop at the grocery store five blocks from the house, pick up two avocados, tortilla chips, and chocolate.

Park across the street, and take a moment to watch the sun as it sets, casting the house in warm golden light.

In a moment, your friends will come down the front steps with exclamations of happiness and smiles wider than the highway. You’ll be showered with hugs and no one will let you carry any luggage. Tales will be told over guacamole and chips,  and laughter will dance around the living room to chase out the haze and boredom of the highway.

But for now, lean against the car and enjoy the breeze: you’ve arrived. 

By Erin Carlson 

Test Runs

There is something

in new shoes still stiff

and not yet molded

to fit exactly around

the curves of your foot.

They’re a bit of adventure,

a little bit of a risk.

They could fit just right,

helping you float and glide like a waltz,

or they can fight with your feet

making you blister and bleed.

And then thrill is that you’ll never know

if it’s dancing or fighting

‘till you slip them on

and take them out into the world. 

By Erin Carlson 

Advocacy for Poets 101

When testifying at a public hearing,

speak like a poet.

Don’t mumble.

Don’t qualify every word

trying to be modest.

Speak with confidence.

You know what you

are talking about.

Don’t let those blank faces

tell you otherwise. 

Don’t cower and simper.

Don’t trail off

at the ends of sentences

leaving thoughts unfinished

and metaphors unfulfilled.

Project, be bold.

Prune your words

until they are limited to those

that carve out a new space so secure

in the minds of your audience 

they can never fall back out. 

And when you end,

don’t rush.

Make eye contact,

then smile through your ”Thank you.”

Walk away slowly, eyes looking ahead,

knowing you’ve left your words behind

to keep talking for you.  

By Erin Carlson