Sandra Simonds

A Poem for Landlords



Today I paid my landlord


at the last possible minute


on the last possible day


of the month which is


on the 5th day of the month.


It is the 5th of November, 2012.




Poets hate their landlords.


This is an imperative. It has no grammar.


Maybe it has a crude grammar.


I am not writing the check until


the last possible minute


in my car because I have


so much hatred in my heart


for property and landlords


but not land or streams


since I love the Romantics


since I am also a romantic


when I am not practicing


stupid conceptual poetry


like going to TJ Maxx


and looking at my face.




I have been thinking


of the body of my three-year old


and how it is so new and so unstable


and how I don’t want him to ever feel


happy in this world.


I don’t mean it like that.


I want him to feel joy


but not happy in the sense


that he feels content.


I want him to also feel


contempt for landlords


the same way that I feel


contempt for landlords


and how I have hated them all


in exactly the same way


which is an abstract hatred


since it reaches into the future


as well as a concrete hatred


since it is right here


in my parked car as


I write this rent check


and how the hatred is sophisticated


in the manner of a Marxist


and how it is unsophisticated


like the juvenile delinquent


I will always be even when


I’m very old because


for whatever reason


that simply could not


be beaten out of me.




So back to this check


I don’t want to write


and writing the numbers


of amounts of money in cursive


which is the last place


in the world in which I use cursive


and writing out a check


which is also the last place


I write checks and how


if I don’t do this


I would need from now


on to get a money order


to pay the landlords


I despise who are all


exactly the same


and whose threats are


all exactly the same.




I do not want to feel this hatred.


I want to feel joy and I want


my little infant to feel joy


and I don’t want her


to grow to be happy.


I don’t mean it like that.


I want her to feel joy


when she walks in a forest


or by a river looking at birds.


But never should she


feel happy or complacent.


If she feels one day


a “seething contempt,”


I will be proud of her for I shall know


she is my daughter.




I know that I should be happy


for them, my children,


if they are happy


but this is not the case.


Oh don’t become tax






I am writing this so quickly.


Soon Craig will be home


and I will need to breastfeed


and cook dinner.


I am writing this so fast.


I will not be able to look


back at it but just now


I am looking back at it since I made


dinner and cleaned the house


and I am also revising it


and thinking about how


my anger has subsided


because at dinner Ezekiel


told me he kissed


his friend on the cheek at school


and he says it is “okay to hug


a friend but we


don’t kiss friends at school.”


I will post this on my blog




It is Nov 5th, 2012


SANDRA SIMONDS grew up in Los Angeles, California. She earned a BA in Psychology and Creative Writing at UCLA and an MFA from the University of Montana. She earned a PhD in Literature from Florida State University. Her second book of poems, Mother was a Tragic Girl, was published by Cleveland State University Poetry Center in 2012. She is also the author of Warsaw Bikini (Bloof Books, 2008), which was a finalist for numerous prizes including the National Poetry Series; she is also the author of several chapbooks including Used White Wife (Grey Book Press, 2009) and The Humble Travelogues of Mr. Ian Worthington, Written from Land & Sea (Cy Gist, 2006). Her poems have been published in many journals including Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, The Believer, Colorado Review, Fence, Columbia Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Volt, New Orleans Review and Lana Turner. Her creative nonfiction has been published in Post Road and other literary journals. She currently lives in Tallahassee, Florida, and is an Assistant Professor of English at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia.