Michael Homolka

Self-Portrait    Whenever    Wherever

The saddest place in the world
is Bulgaria    They did a study
The closest I can claim to Bulgaria
is my Czech last name
though no one in my family
actually seems to be Czech
Bulgaria    Not downtown rain
Not Interstate 80
Not the useless silence
of my living room carpet
Maybe because I’ve been
looking out at clouds all afternoon
and remembering the sensations
they used to stir up
like my father was close by
My life is so unpepperlike
I still think of my mother
whenever I see a woman
begging a man not to
use so much pepper
The future fills up with blasé
globe after blasé globe
Why does the real globe
never reveal even its gentlest
curvature?    Take leftovers
the perennials on the sill
weather that earlier appeared
sturdy    Everything has blown
in some direction     A friend
was going to tell me
why it’s best to feel insignificant


Michael Homolka’s poems have appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review, and Poetry Daily. His first full-length collection won the 2015 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry and is forthcoming from Sarabande Books. A graduate of Bennington College’s MFA program, he lives and works in New York City.