May 23, 2012

pencil

When they were
passing out the ammo,
I was late -

must have been reading
or afraid of crowds -

and when I got there
all I found
was a pencil.
So I took it. Figured

I could stab somebody with it
if I needed to.

Then we all went fishing.
That was all I had
for bait, that pencil.

I dangled it in the water, bored.
Nothing bit. Then I heard
a whisper from the water:

"Did you see that
strange, unappetizing
morsel? What WAS that,
anyway?"

I thought, hey,
dead or not,
at least I got them
talking about me.

It's not like a pencil isn't useful.
Just not for fishing.

May 17, 2012

Cinnamon Rose

I picked you up
to make somebody love me.
I picked you up because
somebody didn't.

You bit my fingers like
maybe you loved me.
You bit my fingers
like you meant business.

You made me feel
incompetent.
You made me feel
like an eager pupil.

You made my hands feel
insignificant.
You made my hands feel
like they could be useful.

You made me sound
inadequate.
You made me sound
like I was learning language.

You made old words
seem true and eloquent.
You made old words
seem like new magic.

You pulled me out
before a crowd of strangers.
You pulled me out
like a splinter.

You pulled me out
before I knew there was danger.
You pulled me out
of my long winter.



May 11, 2012

Seven Minutes In Heaven

It's a tilt of a head or an eyebrow,
and, hey, somebody, watch my drink.
There's something I got to take care of,
be back soon, don't worry about me.

& the jukebox is singing addiction,
& I hear him follow behind
& I swing like I'm working a strip joint
& the lock on the door works just fine

& the tumblers click like a snicker
& the slam of the door is a cry
& the fluorescent hiss is a whisper
& the knob's digging into my spine

& the tiles are cool as forgiveness
& the light is unblinking as greed
& his mouth is hot as a furnace
& my mouth is hungry as God

& he's watching my face in the mirror
& I'm watching his hands on my thighs
& he's taking me like a prisoner
& I'm taking him like a prize

& my breath is a broken hosanna
& his growl is a groveling beast
& his truth is in every profanity
& my hair is a snarl in his fists

& his skin is my cant and my canvas
& my limbs are his wreath and his ring

& his bones are my cage and my castle

& my flesh is his kill and his king

& my teeth are deep in his shoulder
& his fingers sink in where they're splayed
& I know I'll find bruises tomorrow
& I'll want them back when they fade

Then, we make our way back to normal,
with his echo still combing my blood,
and I wonder if anyone heard us,
but the juke is still playing. Real loud.

May 7, 2012

Perfect Lover

He's never listened to a woman
long enough to conclude
we're all idiots.
Or bitches.
Or gold-diggers.

He still likes us,
just not more than beer.

Maybe that's why
he's never felt the need
to beg for it.
Or play Games for it.
Or pay for it,
one way or another,
like a sucker at the races.

Maybe that's why
he doesn't do it
for revenge.
Or for status.
Or for the cameras
rolling enthusiastically in
his porn-fed imagination.

And maybe that's why
he's so damn good at it.

May 4, 2012

Cavewoman, II


The cavewoman remembers
a time before pornography
was made necessary by
the bowdlerization of the body,

before we needed special words
to be used when ladies were present,
before we needed different words
for sex, romance, and love,

before we needed crib sheets
to pass the pleasure test,
before we counted orgasms
like ducats in a sack.

The cavewoman remembers,
but what's the use, when
everybody's fucking
like they're on web-cam,
like they can't wait
till it's over, so they can tweet about it,
when sexting
is somehow hotter than sex.

"Oh, we're all so well-informed now.
We know all the positions, variations,
stimulation, simulation,
drugs for enhanced duration,
video tutorials, sex toy emporiums,
lectures in auditoriums . . .
To Eros, in memoriam."

She orders another rum.

"Fuck an alcoholic, honey.
They usually have no idea what's going on,
and that's not a bad start."

Penitential

I run my hands blindly over
the rosaries you left behind.
They click together softly, whispering
of loss, remembrance and regret.
They seem to fall into
the Braille of your name,
then tangle, like a necklace twisted
by an impatient hand.

I lose count again. I am on my knees
here in the dark, where nobody can touch me
in pity or violence. I am on my knees.
I pray to the master.
I count again, my lips
moving silently, my mouth
dry as my nights.
*     *     *
I still think I had no choice.
If we carried pieces of one another,
it was not all we carried, and those pieces
were not all we lacked.

We built ourselves from spare
parts we found in junkyards, or stole
from the nightstands of the few
we fooled. We held ourselves together
with glue we made by boiling bones
that were much too broken
to be of any other use.
The cloaks we wore were old, stained,
and old-fashioned. We
would have taken them off, but
we had long ago lost our skin.

We were two teetering spectacles
of fabulous catastrophe,
and people came to look at us, believing
there were great truths in our ugliness.
Maybe there were. But how
could two wrecks lean on one another
without falling apart?
*     *     *
I close my eyes. I huddle deeper
into darkness. I earned this ache.

I do not seek escape. I never really did.

I count the beads again. My punishment
is always to lose count before I find the one
you wrote my name on.

I Am/I Miss You

I am the smoke of your secret
cigarette, curling around your
fingers in the dark.

I am the blue of
a hundred country love songs.
I am the silver of
a million wasted coins.
I am the pallor of
a thousand disappointments.

*     *     *

I am the possibility of your sleepless
night, opening somewhere
beyond your vision.

I am the black of
too many scotch-and-sodas.
I am the scream of
somebody's laughter or somebody's brakes.
I am the length of
your hopelessness and your hope.

*     *     *

I am the restlessness of your idle
hands, itching and empty with
nothing to break.

I am the strength
of your willpower.
I am the agility
of your desire.
I am the tenderness
of your brutality.

*     *     *

I am smoking a cigarette.
It is 2:30 in the morning.
I am touching myself.

I miss you.