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Replacing Thoughts

Jen Selinsky

Copyright © 2005 by Jen Selinsky

All rights reserved by the author. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission of the copyright holder.

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Cover Art Copyright © 2003 by Jen Selinsky

ISBN: 9781370986996

*Not every poem included in this book is dated in chronological order. This is not an oversight on my part. Rather, I have made changes and substitutions over the years.



Oh, chocolate,

Most foul substance,

Poisoning the bodies

Of many by making

Them become addicted.

You fiend, having us

Confide in you.

I cannot believe all

The positive associations

That accompany you

Wherever you go.

How sweet the taste,

But, ah, how bitter.

You have nothing to offer,

Yet nothing to take away

Headaches, stomach aches—

(We’re) vomiting up brown.

I stayed up all night, sick from the

Toxic liquid.

You would kill our pets

And small animals—

Poison in their stomachs.

Gooey mess and brown stains

That I can never get out

Of my soul.



I cannot stand the way

That our society

Treats those who are

Deemed “big” or “ugly”—

Telling them they’re a waste

Of human life.

THEY give us the idea

That there’s always room

For improvement.

(Even though

There’s no room in

Our pants, so tight.)

And these people

With “the perfect

Waistline” make me sick

Because they do not have to do

Anything to keep

Off the pounds.

Emaciated monsters, feeding off

The excessive amounts

Of our limbs.

Commercializing our defects

And getting the world to laugh

Behind our backs and right in

Our double-chinned faces.


Any Day Now

I sit and wait for the news to arrive

While the cool of the morning

Flows right through my hair—

Like a knife smoothing butter,

On a surface that was already calm.

I sent away for something,

And its timely arrival would

Make the rest of my life.

Because everyone has something they need

Or want to become fulfilled in this existence,

But this is nothing so ordinary

That people would find me a fool for

Saying that I need something, but I do.

Oh, how I want this to be filled with words

That make my time worthwhile

Because this means so much

To a poor soul who’s just learning to breathe

And spread her wings in this wounded world,

Where so many find it hard to speak.

Any day now, people will know that I existed,

And they will find that it is not so easy to

Ridicule me anymore because I have

Been in this place so many times,

But soon I will delivered

To my beloved sanctuary.


Two men who look alike—

One a twinge darker than the other.

Same beards, same muscular build

You were at the *concert;

I saw you both there.

Then sitting alone in my seat;

I did not pay attention

To your presence,

Now sitting alone again,

I saw the two of you,

Less than fifteen or twenty

Feet away from each other.

I do not know if you have met,

But I see you both in my mind—

Looking ahead

To promising careers.

*concert-George Clinton at Clarion University, November 2001


The Spilt Bag of Contents

I take hold of the bag,

That was given to me

By the good folks

Of *Carlson Library.

The red,



Has been


Thus spilling

The contents

On the table:



Candy cane,

A bookmark

With my name!

A chocolate

Santa Claus and

A tube full of M&M’s

Some “reindeer food” and

This very book,

On which I will start

Just as soon as I finish my

Nightly duties…

*Carlson Library at Clarion University—

the staff received some “goodies” as a

small Christmas gift.


Bride to a Monster

Betrothed to some kind of fiend—

Only to be thrown into a fiery pit.

He only wants me so that he can

Harm me, and he will try to make it

So that I can’t escape.

My white dress has turned black,

And I can see the wide-open crack

Between my feet.

I’m ready to fall into the fire,

Several previous brides looking

Up at me—reaching out for help,

As they are drowning in the pit of lava.

Wide eyes and outstretched arms

Calling out my name.

He told me not to interfere with

Any of his plans—tell no one at all

To help me out of this mess.

He told me to stay the hell away

While he was hatching his sinister mind,

But I snuck there by myself one night

And tried to pull out his candles—the flame!

Silently swooping down from behind,

A strong wind followed at my heels.

Being invisible, I still wasn’t safe;

I had to burrow myself

Into the earth’s crust to hide.

Will he be destroyed?

Who knows what will happen when I emerge?


Bride to a Stranger

My white wedding dress sparkled,

Contrasting with the color of my hair.

And the smile on my driver’s license photo

Made me look like a different person—

Like a younger version of myself,

Only far prettier and much more

Full of life.

I’ve only known this man for two days;

Was I making a huge mistake?

Somehow, he just came to me,

Like I was living some kind of dream—

A splendid being who was sure

To take care of me,

At least regarding my emotions,

But what was going to happen

Regarding my current stance?

If he ever found out about the fear inside,

My whole world would come crashing down!


I saw you looking up at me

With those eyes—

Staring, so cold.

What have I done to make

You seem like an adversary;

Why do you appear to hate me so?

For a while I thought that we’d be civil,

Respecting each other’s decisions.

You hold a much higher position

In this life, so you may not have time

For a simpleton such as myself.

But there’s just something about you

I see, now, that I do not like.

Maybe it’s the way that you try

To avoid me when I try to start a


Perhaps, it’s nothing in particular;

You just don’t like the way that I am.


We were once seen traveling

Down the same road together,

But no one made anything of it

Do you think that they just saw

Through us, or perhaps they

Didn’t even care?

Oh, we are a deadly combination—

Something that the public cannot take

In large doses.

Together, we could mean the destruction

Of the universe

As it is known to the masses today.

Fame and money are waiting to be

Had by us; just as long as they don’t

Own our souls!


Don’t let the blood seep through my skin,

Not even for the subtle differences

That make up our inherited genes.

Blood runs through my veins

Only in red, for black is the color

That runs through death.

None of these things are abundant

In me, nor shall they become a part

Of my life—(a part of my strife).

I would rather bleed in purple

And let my veins run dry

Than to have to wear the mark

Of the beast on my forehead.

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