Jeffrey McDaniel

(1967 / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

The Quiet World


In an effort to get people to look
into each other's eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear
without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn't respond,
I know she's used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.

Submitted: Thursday, July 14, 2005
Edited: Friday, February 15, 2008

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  • Ilko Alexandrov (10/2/2013 12:53:00 PM)

    This is one of the most moving pieces of art i have ever come across in my life.. And i've read a lot of poetry. Instant goose bumps. Instant favourite poet. Magic Realism at its best. Only bettered by the great poems of the one and only Julio Cortazar, who strangely, is nowhere to be found around here. I read it when i want to cry.. I wish i could pay and download all his work! (Report) Reply

  • Carla Castillo (5/27/2006 9:38:00 PM)

    i absolutely love your poems.
    every single one of them make me feel like im apart of something great while im reading them
    Please email me so we can talk.
    LaunchProduction@yahoo.com (Report) Reply

  • Raynette Eitel (7/14/2005 1:31:00 PM)

    This is an interesting thought...and an interesting solution. What's a poet to do?
    Good work.

    Raynette (Report) Reply

Read all 9 comments »

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