The Homeless Poem Project (No. 04): Melissa Tuckey

Freecycle Poem

If you have a hole in your body somewhere, I have a piece of metal for it.

Size fourteen pants, oil stained, good for mowing the grass.

Rhubarb starts, enough to fill a bucket.

I have telepathic vision. Double jointed thumbs.

One yellow dog, sometimes good, sometimes bad.

Wanted: a chocolate cake that says happy birthday.

Free: 16 bricks made in Glouster.

Waffle Maker with busted cord.

Three screw top pickle jars.

Wanted: a man who can balance his checkbook.

Wanted: a list of things to do while sober.

I have a song stuck in my head and will gladly share it.

Grief, that doesn’t sweeten.

Bread that won’t rise, country that doesn’t exist.

Wanted: the swell of music just before the lights come up.

First melt of the season, all that mud and promise.


My office is food storage, laundry, and office.

Of “Freecycle Poem,” Melissa Tuckey says,

I live in a town that is fiercely committed to reuse, recycle, and not buying new things. This is compounded by living in an eco-village. I even have neighbors who will comment on things “improperly” thrown in the dumpster. It reaches a level of absurd both in the things we try to save and the things we throw away. This poem is inspired by all this. Poetically, there isn’t much to say– except that I had fun writing this. It started with the first line, which came to me as I was browsing Freecycle, and soon I was imagining my own version of Freecycle.

More About the Poet:

Melissa Tuckey is author of two collections of poetry: Tenuous Chapel, chosen by Charles Simic for the ABZ First Book Prize in 2013; and Rope as Witness, a chapbook, was published by Pudding House Press in 2007. Her work has been recognized with support from a Fine Arts Work Center winter fellowship in Provincetown and artist fellowships from Ohio Arts Council and DC Commission on Arts and Humanities as well as a residency at Blue Mountain Center. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in journals such as Missouri Review, Beloit Poetry Review, Hayden’s Ferry, Poet Lore, Poetry International, Verse Daily and elsewhere. Her work has been anthologized in such works as Fire and Ink: Social Action Writing (University of Arizonia Press), Ecopoetry Anthology (Trinity University Press), Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sounds (City Lights), Poets for Palestine, and DC Poets Against the War Anthology.

Tuckey lives in Ithaca, New York, where she works as a writing instructor and editor.  She’s co-founder of Split This Rock, a national poetry organization dedicated to poetry of witness and provocation based in Washington, DC.  She’s editor of Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology, forthcoming with University of Georgia Press, 2016. Tuckey holds an MA in literature and creative writing from Ohio University and an MFA from George Mason University.


View from my favorite writing chair.

Photos (see above): Melissa Tuckey’s writing space

Interested in submitting to The Homeless Poem Project? Click here for the guidelines.


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