Just an understudy to the woman I crave to be
--afraid the stage isn't prepared for her yet. America,
right shoulder slightly higher than its left, unzipped
his fly and pissed on every vagina monologue,
memoir ever printed. you can try to read it but
can't escape the stench
why is it? Newport Folk still beats on but the times
haven't changed yet. The dream reeks of embalming fluid
uplifted by a half-hearted movement: a nationwide
parade of dragging feet. Politicians mistaking podiums
for pulpits, can barely contain ingrained imperialistic
instincts to stick a flag in the unclaimed territory between my legs...
My keys on the coffee table, I see them now. My
anger fizzles like a powerpoint slideshow effect. I head
out the door in response to my best friend's text:
< you busy?
< can you meet me at the library?
< im afraid to walk home alone
We lived where the
in a horizon of terraces
where among three generations
I steeped in patterns
of twitching lips
and silent looks between eyes
that ricocheted a language fluent
known only by them
and that grandads and daddies
seemed not to hear.
The lady from number 6 crying
and cradling her cup
was helped out by Aunt Edie who
had just read her tea leaves
in the front parlour
where heavy drapes
newly hung and drawn
served only to thicken the odour
of polish and mothballs
And there-in the carved sideboard cupboards
I would delight in the odds and ends,
learning even then
about the process of finding
and how that which I sought most
would more than often emerge
from the bottom of a difficult pile.
as I fumble
as I stumble
Sitting on the sand
where I watch the tide,
I'm sitting on the sand
where I syllogise;
sunshine and sugar pills,
of which I am comprised.
if I'm a bum,
it's because you made me one.
"What is your name?"
, "What is your name?"
, "What is your name?"
I should meet new people but my name is Bernadette,
in the corner where I like to be. Peeling a Yuengling
label slowly, while Mayfield tells me he's gonna lose
half his ass by summer
at a pre-New Year's eve eve eve party. Not every head
turns, but I spun the ones I wanted to. You enter the
room and there's a wind due east. I've got a bitten
bottom lip and an elevated heart rate. As of late, you're
back on my mind. The year switches a digit from 4 to 5
and suddenly I can't seem to shake that time I kissed
your pelvic bones in Jonah's closet.
"We probably shouldn't do that again."
You grab my Yuengling
"Do you think we finally have to grow up this year?"
and chug it.
All of my friends were there
and their friends, too
and the friends of my friends'
cousins and their dogs
and their all-seeing aunts crammed into
ill-fitting blouses with
their husbands in New York or L.A.
and their inbetweens sending them
dirty texts and someone, I think it was
my mother, she said, Why don't you
lay in the river
And I said, Of course
The leaves fell
The birds sang a four-note phrase
and all my friends, the best ones,
they tossed half-empty packs
of gum, flower petals, quarters, pens--
anything they had in their pockets
As I passed by them I said, Remember
when we ate the poison berries and
said our goodbyes. Remember when
I played pitcher on our t-ball team.
Remember when Drew took the electric
fence to his crotch. Remember when
we threw Josh's library book into the rain.
Remember when I learned to ride a bike in
sixth grade. Remember when I kissed
you on the backseat of the school bus.
And they said, Yes. And they laughed.
Those were good times.
My brother, he was there too, he hopped
in the river and gave me a push, said,
I'll see you around the next bend.
Life number two, I said.
Life number two.
this morning spring blew kisses to me in my bed
but the internet forecasts all say winter's far from dead
and the weatherman on the television said we're reaching record lows
so spring, unyielding sent a missionary breeze
that promised I would hear the neighbors playing with their kids
and smell the hyacinths, that I would see magnolia trees and feel like
rolling up my sleeves soon enough
though the streets are still lined with snow,
I looked outside my window and saw the sun