I watched as she,
us cut from the same cloth,
stared into a diamond martini glass.
The leather on her shoes
haven’t seen the sand filled with red ants for years.
Drip, drip, drip
The last drops sacrificed onto
her olive chiffon skirt.
They seeped through the layers and
were the only ones who have done it in years.
The winos and banshees beside her, mesmerized at the box with moving pictures.
USA In Shambles
They can’t turn away.
They don’t even notice Miss USA
beside them in her own ruins.
I was supposed to be gone and away.
Life turned to dust, travelling with the wind.
Instead, the dust left traces in the martini glass
leaving chaos in its wake.
He told me of how she had
awakened him in the 4 a.m. mist.
Eyes bloodshot, the turquoise clouded with her cigarette smoke.
4 a.m. and already half a pack down.
Staring at their postcards from New Orleans,
how the ghosts of the Bayou Bienvenue rose from
the wetland, clammed at her arms.
The shriveled cypress trunks in the water,
Please come with us.
She held on to the broken hands,
in her fresh sunflower frock.
She always thought I’d like her
more in her death dress.
My sister sat with me in her car,
taking dollar bills out of my purse
because she wasn’t getting paid until next week.
Dollars going through the parking meter,
each beep reminding me of the news she couldn’t wait to tell me.
As she’s redoing her salmon lipstick
and making sure her right eyelash stays put,
she can’t help but let the words slip
I’m starting fresh. This is my new life.
She already has her mom fooled, this one’s the one.
I stare at my phone, nodding that I’m happy for her,
careful not to say
Is this your third new life this year?
She talks about his money, the daughter from a former marriage
how he called her pajamas Grandma,
picked her out some rouge lingerie for the ***** deed.
A few ***** deeds and he wants to move out and buy her a house.
I’m never quite sure what to say, all that comes out is nervous laughter.
Well, boys will be boys.
The one in Vegas comes to mind first, he also promised her forever.
What about the dealer in California? It wasn’t even his house.
I told her that I hope she’s happy this time,
each ring coming from her phone,
a fang severing more freckled skin.
You’re so exotic.
He’d stare into my almond eyes,
one lighter than the other
fingers following the tangled waves
that ran down my shoulder blades.
What was exotic?
My father, blue eyed brute,
born into the Los Angeles slums
when the city lights were still
filled by browning fields.
My mother, unbleached hazel,
proud to say she’s been
an American longer,
than ever a refugee.
You should dye it black.
The tangled waves,
hues of coffee and amber
were never good enough.
You should dress more like them.
the pink and blue sampot hol
with silk ruffles and mandarin flowers
don’t match my ***** sneakers,
and for the hundredth time,
it’s not a kimono.
No, I don’t know anyone
who works at that massage parlor
with the women in six inch heels
parading around the golden dragon
out in front.
No, my father didn’t rescue
my mother from the nail salon
and what makes you think
I would know anything about
mail order brides.
Television has taught you
that I should be exotic
Ready to submit
at the snap of your fingers.
Ready to present,
with a geisha’s poise.
You really expect me to respond?
Staring down into its dark abyss
Entangled in its warmth and bitterness.
It soothes my soul and
Makes me feel almost whole.
So this is what it felt like.
People always told me that it would just feel like peace.
To me, I always imagined it to be a field of marigolds,
with the smells of golden amber and patchouli
wavering through my bones.
It was the days when my knotted hair
finally became unraveled and
you combed through the tangles while
the smell of berries and mint floated through the air.
It was the burnt butter of the waffles cooking in the iron
and thick bacon spewing bits
of grease out of the pan
as Mother cooked on cartoon-filled Saturday mornings.
I was always told that with peace,
there were no inviting questions.
No sinful, succulent maybes.
No mirroring what-ifs.
You in the arms of another,
no marigolds, tangles, or berries.
Death, you didn’t get me this time.
I will be okay.
How long has it been since they were last together?
She remembers the first rainy dinner and the soggy bread.
She remembers the road trip to California, lost on the road forever.
The first picture taken of them embracing hasn’t left her mind.
After they hugged, she snuck a peck and he turned Venetian red.
She remembers the way he sang out on the streets for change.
His voice, only one of its kind.
What she’ll always remember is how he started acting strange
and how the little blue pill box wasn’t what she thought.
Struggling, he had one foot in adulthood,
the other fighting to keep him in his youth.
She remembers even though they were so in love,
she couldn’t see and misunderstood.
She shook those thoughts away
and got her head down from above.
35 and now just seeing the truth
of how a little blue pill box can cause a strife.
She knew now, for the rest of her life
he would always be the angel-faced boy and nothing more
because he would forever stay 24.
— The End —