Two Poems By Daniel Nester

Lines composed after being told by a poet I should “go out in nature more often and look at chipmunks”

Spin Doctors, Pocketful of Kryptonite (1991)

as if // the last thing I want to do in this short life I have // is to wander outside // and encounter some chipmunk // let alone write a poem in which // mythic weight is bestowed // upon a chipmunk // let’s say I’m looking out my window // or I take a walk along an uneven sidewalk // a chipmunk comes up // looks at me // smiles in the way // we say animals smile // the end // awful poem // awful chipmunk poem // chipmunk poems are worse than other awful poems // what I really want to do is never see chipmunks // what I really want is in this short life I have // is to never ever see a chipmunk // at least on purpose // and don’t get me started on flowers // there was a nun in third grade // very chipmunk-like // she made us memorize all the flower parts
petals // and anthers and stamens
yeah // so // fuck chipmunks

Placed into The Abyss: After Pavement’s “Cut Your Hair”

Wack jobs workshopped other wack jobs and wondered why a wack job got famous.
For years we added drop shadows to everything—web sites, flyers, metaphors.
They say there’s the story and then there’s the story about the story.
In the story about the story, I made a habit of smoking beside the East River, even though I didn’t smoke.
From notebooks, 1997: “Whatever is taken from space takes up space elsewhere. Reception is not conception.”
I have no idea what I meant, of course.
For years I added light copies above darker ones.
In this story about the story, there’s always one friend who calls me “darling” just when you need to be called “darling” but you didn’t know you needed to be called “darling.”
Who would understand that sad young man, anyway?
Prizes, publications, and a career, career, career, career, career, career.

Daniel Nester’s most recent book is the memoir Shader. His next book, Harsh Realm: My 1990s, is coming out from Indolent Books in the coming year. Find him online at, and he erases all his tweets every couple months at @danielnester.

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