Dark Lady Poetry - Rebecca Nutile




Rebecca Nutile




Nothing’s Working Out the Way We Planned



We talked about these things, the two of us –

we talked music and drugs and art and sex

living and dying – all the typical

topics stemming from curiosity

and general boredom mixed with Bombay gin.

Although it was morbid, we made a top ten list.

We disagreed on where to rank gangrene,

and drowning, but agreed on these two things:

If you die old, then dying in your sleep is best.

If you die young, it should be dramatic.

Grand pronouncements came easily back then.


One morning last week -- it might have been night,

you simply slipped away before sunup.

You went to bed as usual, still young,

You slept alone this night, alone often

Drifting off to sleep, then never woke up.

I don’t know how many hours had passed

before you were found. I couldn’t bear to ask.

No signs of violence or self-destruction --

no empty bottles of pills on the nightstand --

just a half-finished mug of Guinness Stout.


Yesterday I walked past your empty house.

Four dumpsters were lined up in the front yard

filled by the cleaning crew your mother hired.

They overflowed with things I didn’t recognize.





The Drummer



He watched his mother scour and scrape black pots.

Her weary arm in steady motion pulsed

Against the clanging of porcelain on glass.

He dreamed of café cadences he’d drum

This dreaming boy, his rhythms etched inside.


A cymbal sounds when saucers hit their cups.

As sticks rolled crisp across the snare’s taut head

A griddle sizzled sausages and eggs.

A paradiddle, paradiddle stop.

He felt each rhythm underneath the noise.


For twenty years as journeyman on drums.

He found the grooves in jazz or rock or blues.

He drove the South, ceaseless in his pursuit

Of homes for every roaming sixteenth note

And shelter in a phrase for triplets gone astray.





What’s Left to Say



He tells her he doesn’t know what to say

but says something anyway.

He’s sorry.

The woman was pretty and young.

And they drank too much Tanqueray.

And you know what that does to him.

And well, he’s human.

Humans make mistakes.


She shows no sign of anger

as she scours movie listings in the Tribune.

She searches for one they haven’t seen,

one that starts at 7 o’clock.

The new Woody Allen?

She tells him she’s in the mood

for a romantic comedy.


Let’s have some wine first.

He kisses her lightly on the forehead,

touches her shoulders.

You’re cold he says.

And she is.


He hands her a gray sweater,

the one she’s worn all winter

the one with the unraveling sleeve.

It’s unflattering and far too big

but it’s warm and goes with everything.


Together they’ll see the film,

discuss its shortcomings

and merits over cheesecake and decaf,

how Woody’s too old for a romantic lead,

how his love interest could be his granddaughter.

Even so, the acting was exceptional,

the script well-written.

He’ll suggest they see it again.


Together they’ll sit side by side in silence

each in the comfort of the other’s presence

staring straight ahead.





Before becoming a freelance writer, Rebecca Nutile worked in advertising and publishing as an editor/production manager. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing at San Diego State University where she also taught fiction and poetry writing. Her work has appeared in Caesura, Poetry Motel and Circle. She lives in Escondido, California and is at work on her first novel.