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Cynthia Spencer  (email, blog)


About the Poet:

Cynthia is a first-year student at Beloit College.  Her interest in words can be traced back to early childhood, when she would sit in her father's office in Rocky Hill, NJ and page through his dictionary.  She began writing short stories at age 10, but shifted her focus to poetry in high school.  Her work can be found at http://cynthiaspencer.blogspot.com.





The sky, a mottled blue-grey,

Sweeps and bends above me.

There are no stars to see here,

Except electric orange freeway light.

Better that than so much blinding white.


So may the whisperswish of cars

And insects’ click sing me to sleep tonight.

And may the tumult and the shouting fade away 

With my own consciousness of All

that is not






cruising through neon green Almost,

Maybe on our breath and

Someday hidden under our tongues,

we exchanged blue and white for purple,

orange explanations until Spring

made explanation obsolete.

There is no reason for this season 

of delicate spiderwork green,

pink yellow light and ball and laughing clouds.

There is no reason not to say the words out loud,

why Azalea should live brighter than we,

shocking, ephemeral and sweet,

but something stops me,

who knows each flower wilts in time enough.

And we?  We haven't even that, my love.






A wan shadow of the self I know is running, 

a blur of dark blue, the color of the night sky rushing

Over the Mediterranean, dotted with stars, viewed with wonder;

Over the underground city, the caves,

the streets, the old, the poor, the sick,

the leather-skinned beggar

holding up her sleeping daughter

to the heavens and the people.

The girl was younger than I,

the mother's eyes wet with Please.



Surely, this is not America, though

America may someday be this.

This is older than my 8-year-old imagination could conceive.

This is an ancient rock formation in which we can each see ourselves unique.

This is a neverending field of the forgotten dressed in green and crumbled white stone.

This country is a blur of rock, ruin and flowers, flying past me as I run,

legs pumping, arms outstretched,

As if the next step will finally find no ground.


Before I can gain the momentum to fly, I am stopped

by a small boy standing there,

brown skin, dark eyes shining joy,

black hair, white teeth and homespun cotton,

pink tongue incomprehensible, but

I know the meaning

of his smile and his daisies.

I, too, was gathering them all the while,

scooping them up in my arms as I ran.





Hobo Booger Jim


There’s always carnival rides, a beach with surf.

There’s aways a sunrise, a sunset.


I shoulda been dead three times


I’ve never had such a nice place as this,

I got 28 pairs of socks in my drawer.

I have 10 t-shirts.

I have cat toys on my living room floor.

I got stuff, but

it’s just stuff.

I could cash out any time,

buy me a backpack and a sleeping bag.

All I wanna do is go on one more ride,

and now I know where to go.


The first time I got picked up by a homosexual I was thirteen years old.

He had a sticker on his windshield, a star,

like a badge.

I thought he was a cop and I was holding,

but then he put his hand on my knee and I just started swinging.

Cause I was scared.

I got some good hits in before I got the wheel,

pulled the car over and ran into the cornfield.


I shoulda been dead three times.  


I went down to South Carolina with a .44 and a photo album.

And she was sitting there crying

and I was flipping through the album when I thought,

if I kill her it’ll end here, but if I leave her

she’ll be living with this for the rest of her life.

And I left.


What would you rather do, if you were homeless?

Would you rather live on the street or ride the rails?

Ride the rails, right?

Cause when you’re riding the rails you’re living,

But when you’re on the streets you’re dying.


Put me in jail,

you think I never been in jail before?

You ever been to a hobo jungle?


In the grocery store, kids’ll say,

“hey mommy, that man doesn’t have an arm.”

Well no shit, you little brat!  I’m still alive.

When you get up tomorrow, put your left hand in your back pocket.


I shoulda been dead three times.