The Sunday Poem: Rich Boucher... Poem, Deconstructed

The reader might wonder if a poem is actually written to a real person.  Well, maybe or maybe not.  Nonetheless, a poem is always written with someone in mind.  Rich Boucher takes the reader inside his heart and head this morning.

A past member of five national poetry slam teams, Rich has published four chapbooks of poetry and for seven years hosted an open reading and slam in Newark, Delaware.  Rich's poetry blends neo-brutalist surrealism with pagan music, sacred nonsense, revisionist history and "truth". Some of his recent work can be found in the Delaware Poetry Review.

Poem, Deconstructed
Opening line of the poem,
which isn’t too long, or descriptive,
but nonetheless captures attention,
just the way it’s supposed to.
Second line of the poem sprawls a little;
this line expands upon the premise of the first line,
and gives a bit more background for the poem’s idea.
Third line of the poem hints at where the poem is going,
and usually makes some comparison as a clue,
like tears, or a metaphor.
Fourth line, after a pause, is a good line
to start a new stanza with; it brings the subject a little closer.
Fifth line of the poem remembers everything about you,
that shine in your eyes in the light of the fireworks
when we were fifteen, the smell of your skin,
the warmth of your hand in mine,
reading your mind before that first kiss
and knowing that we both were asking God
to let that night go on for days.
But it’s the sixth line that gets me every time,
the line that alludes, with a clever subterfuge,
to a future we tried to write with kisses
and therefore never could have read with objective eyes.
And then line number seven of the poem
makes explicit reference to the way your lips felt on my neck,
to furtive make-out sessions in the woods beyond the yard,
talks about how hard it can be to flesh out a memory spontaneously,
using brand new terms for the same experience,
employs loaded words, such as everlasting and bittersweet,
how unbelievably gray a sky can get with rain.
Comes out of nowhere, does the eighth line of the poem,
and it doesn’t seem at first to square with the rest of the poem.
A fragment, almost, like a non-sequitur: the smell of perfume
is like the smell of fire, or at least it ought to be.
The ninth line of the poem is the perfect place
for a rhetorical device like apostrophe,
where I suddenly address a specific person,
instead of a general audience:
sometimes I think about you,
and I wonder where you are now.
The final line of the poem, which is often
(but not always) the tenth line,
asks a question, as though attempting to sum up
what every line before it was really getting to:
Do you remember me?

-- by Rich Boucher

Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

Views: 290

Comment by BARBARA BYERS on September 23, 2012 at 8:27am

Rich, you always, always, always knock me out with your poems. This one is a beauty.

Comment by Margaret Randall on September 23, 2012 at 8:40am

What a fantastic poem. Every time you read one of my old favorites of yours, like the poem about blueberry pie, I think: this is so great, but I wonder if it's a flash in the pan--a one- or two-poem guy, as they say. And then you come up with a new one, and then another new one, like this extraordinary example of your breathtaking brilliance I've never heard before. And then I am reassured: you are a poet for the long haul. This time around I am with you every word, every line... I just love this, Rich. Thank you.

Comment by Dee Cohen on September 23, 2012 at 10:11am

My fave poem of yours so far Rich. The question that lies beneath, behind, and below all poems: Will we be remembered? Very nice, Dee

Comment by Rich Boucher on September 23, 2012 at 1:00pm


Thank you so much; you warm my heart with this. Thank you. 

Comment by Rich Boucher on September 23, 2012 at 1:04pm


You honor me and make me blush all at once! Thank you so much; it means so much to me to read your words on my poem this afternoon. This is one of those poems that is very, very close to me, close to the vest, close to my heart. And because it is that way, close to me, that means that it is one of those poems that tests my own courage. You know, that thing about showing one's inner self. Thank you, Margaret, so, so much. 

Comment by Rich Boucher on September 23, 2012 at 1:06pm


Thank you, Dee, for YOUR words also here. And I am very happy to see that it is your favourite of mine thus far! I feel like in a lot of ways I took some real, bonafide chances with this poem. Thank you, again, so much. 

Comment by Izquierdo on September 23, 2012 at 2:26pm

The only problem I notice is in my neck tightened up from scrolling up and down, comparing the line number to the stated criteria for that line. It's the first poem I've ever read backward and forward at the same time. Really great.selection, DRider. I look forward to your next appearance, Rich..  

Comment by Rich Boucher on September 23, 2012 at 2:31pm

Izquierdo, thank you so much for this! 

Comment by Teresa Gallion on September 23, 2012 at 5:25pm

Go on with your bad know you rock.  Great piece dripping that ink (smiling).

Comment by Rich Boucher on September 23, 2012 at 5:27pm

Thank you so much, Teresa (Mama!) for checking this out and for your comment here. <3


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