The Room #1

Through the blinds, soft yellow-white light,
like an army in formation, or the art of Eddie
Granger, in wood and light instead of regular
architectural rectangles of color arranged
in blocked gradient. The gloomy insides
shutting out the morning and blue sky
because I called in sick and am keeping
these melancholy musings alive,
an orchid with leaves the right green
but the flowers long since fallen away.
The Mountain of Monitors reflects
back the faint light from outside.
This TV episode is boring; I would never
make an interesting subject. The carpet
needs cleaning, but what I remember
of carpet cleaning involves a ride
to the grocery store and moist, dank
air for days. My bed makes up half
the space, is not made up itself,
but spring requires only a single sheet
and a thin small blanket on top. Does
it matter if they lay flat, wrinkle free?
No one’s here but me. No one will be
here but me. Near the kitchen the bookshelves
are full of future images, a gallery
of spines that unfold IMAX cinematic.

#NaPoWriMo 2017 Day 18


I’m taking a five-week intensive Writing the Other course (based on and expanding upon the fantastic book) and for one of our recent exercises we had five minutes to answer a list of questions about our surroundings and another seven minutes to write a description in any form we wanted. I chose to write a poem. I find it difficult to capture objects and spaces poetically in the moment, though I occasionally come up with lyrical fragments about my surroundings that I write down quickly in a notebook to use later. The above poem is not great and I don’t think there are particularly vivid images in it, but the big difference between my early attempts at poetry a few years ago and my first drafts now is that I reach for concrete imagery first instead of abstraction. I shudder to recall those early poems and their empty, floaty statements about big ideas that never became grounded on the page or in the mind. My images are still often cliched or rote, but I think this kind of practice will eventually lead to more unique and crisp images in earlier and earlier drafts of my poems.

Oh, about Edward Granger: talented artist, beautiful art.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a fiction writer and poet, with his first published poem forthcoming later in 2017 from Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (, on Goodreads (richardleis), his (@richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).