When lightning bolted the
Ferris wheel still
Cupid turned his bare ass
and let Zeus have his way
with Jennifer of the tenth grade
through the galvanized rod of
Zach of the eleventh.
The chorus with raised hands and
stuffed bears and bowls of
golden fish and hair-band mirrors
sang through the wheel. The smoke
of a thighbone mixed with
the smoke of the grill.
I thought her buttocks perfect and
they were (voila) if you didn't
part them and whiff, and were
smooth like genetically engineered
monstrous peaches are smooth and
good and perfect and not to be
released into the wild for fear of
breeding giant peaches you would
not want to sniff too closely in the
wrong spot. And that, I suppose, was
why she punched me in the head and
told me to shut up. Ouch.
Let's skin this duck and
look while it steams. A
surprising tongue and long
stretch of gut and lots of
nibbled green bits and bugs
and a big fistful of warm
wiggly heart and liver and
lungs. Its beak claps closed
and it stretches wing to wing
and toe to toe.
Let's put it back together, you
and me gods in the cool grass
of the morning, and name it
She thought I was gay because
I came with Jeremy. She said
It's tiring being the tits at the
party. I could close my eyes and
recite telephone numbers when
I am the tits at the party. But the
man on the street and the boys
next door, my boss, my priest, and
my father, have always believed
in the tits. Their jaws slide open
and they suddenly strategize and
try to look like they're not looking.
So I keep them up, as you must,
rub cream into them, mount them
in suitable bras, and take them out
on occasion, strike suitable poses.
That's where she lost me. It's tiring
being not actually gay at the party.
The boy who cooks the food here bangs the chops,
His mallet swinging bloodied, pounding down.
They turn the music up to fill the room
With anything but hammer, flank, and blood.
[I'll have the salad, thanks,
green leaves and vinegar
and wet cherry tomatoes
sliced in half. And tea.]
How do I tell her
Her bum is too big for that
Small stretch of shorts?
We all are made unwilling
Gynecologists by this
Small stretch of pants
And seven lines of stitching.
She has ice cream and big
eyes and a flower drawn on
her shirt. We all part for the
girl with sweet January lamp
post stuck to her tongue and
no more sidewalk sense than
a moose muzzling your rhubarb.
The girl and her escort proceed.
You could almost kiss her but
A bumblebee infatuates the airs
And gives up earth for greater gravity.
The working of the wing and hang of leg
Are gathered in the whole soft hoving burr.
A thistle crowned in knives and purple pinked
Stalks head above the blades of common grass,
And works the earth and light into a green
That won't be nipped by slow wet browsing mouths
Our bumblebee on thistle, soft on soft,
Both swaying to the weight of settled hum,
Are leg to petal mouth to sweet to tongue
And sun forgotten in their own close breath.
And up again, released in dusting life,
Each to its own excuse for wavering.
Fat men last night were
dancing on the pavement,
conking on concrete and
laughing at the bounce of
their girlish tits slung on
hairy barrels of buried ribs.
I love these swollers down
to the ground and I hope
they don't hurt themselves.
(I must watch my weight.)
(I really must.)
The porn of spring,
It comes as rare
As love in blue
Tied to the bed,
Her nails set in
Your sides, her mouth
When the wind stopped, we gave up being afraid of no toes on the bottom and we thought of the air that is half of everything. We stood on the lip between breath and breath, with the fish gliding just below and the birds gliding just above, and we could not go up or down or back or on.
Have you never taken medicine or eaten snails or oysters or sucked down your own phlegm? It's like that now. This is how I save a dollar a day to send home. I would gulp whatever you put on my plate if you paid me for it and I thought I might get home with half the cash. Will I be paid for this interview? Do you need anything else?
Her trade, the heavy thighs for heavy breasts, has made her sit at tables and lean patiently into her cleavage. By the time she's charming snake dancing men are staring down the gulf and swearing to themselves from Sunday back to Saturday night. She bags and defangs the bastards and heaves them over her back. And some of them were good.
A tall thin woman with yellow hair and sweet perfume is a good place for bees to walk, a thousand feet tiptoeing and looking for petals to peel back.
I'm good now at shaking hands,
reaching first and squeezing like
I'm strong and I care about the
men whose pebbly bones I roll
in my fist and cast. Kissing men
is another deal. It's three pecks
on alternating cheeks, and make
sure you don't bump lips or stay
long enough to smell the cologne.
One kiss would be gay, so just
don't. Two kisses is not love but
would be unofficial and dangerous,
like skipping a dance step, and
apt to cause offense or a collision.
Three kisses is the expectation,
right left right or left right left, and
anything more is gay again, but
not like snaking your tongue down
uncle's throat like a live eel and
wiggling until he clutches his chest.
They built a dam and kicked us out of the valley and dug up the old graveyard and closed the dam gates and everything we didn't take with us went under the water. For a year or so, houses popped up like dead sea monsters and floated to the bank, but then that stopped and the few of us still living nearby got used to the lake and the fishing.
Then a summer came that did nothing but burn. I heard that water levels were low, so I took a boat out to look at the reservoir and maybe fish a little. The steeple came up first, as I suppose steeples are meant to do. I tied off to the lightning rod and looked down the roof tiles as far as I could see, but no church. I fished and brought up three red snappers too small to keep, then ate a cheese sandwich and rowed home.
The next time I was out, the roofs of the higher buildings – the mill and the church and the firehouse – were dry like islands with waves around the edges from the breeze. I fished from the peak of the church, one cheek on either slope, and pulled up a bass. Then I sipped warm beer with my back against the steeple and smoked in the shade.
The third time I was out, the tops of some regular houses were up and sputtering out upper windows. I think a girl I used to like lived in one I stood on, but I couldn't find her bedroom. Our house was long gone. It was one of the early poppers years ago, in the first fall, and broke up and sank again. All the old drowned maples were hanging like willows half out of the water.
The water was pretty clear to the bottom now and I could see our street, the only one in town. I tied off to a slimy lamppost and stripped down to nothing but canvas sneakers and Y-fronts and went in. I can't swim much, but the water was low enough that I could sink to the bottom and come up for air and sink again, and I got just enough traction on the street to hop slowly forward. There I was, going down our old street in my underwear like I was a balloon in a parade.
The last time I went out, the rain had come and gone in the hills for a couple of days and the reservoir was smooth from end to end. I dropped a line and pulled up nothing, nothing, then snagged and gave it up.
Old French women wearing black
And smelling faintly of oui
Cackle at the joke.
You put your hand on the bottom of the bay and we watched a dozen miniature lobsters come out and nibble your skin. I had thought your skin a tasty thing, but these beasts knew something I'd forgot. And how could I compete?
Then we lost you on the moor and ran about looking for boots sucking muck and one last clutch above the surface or maybe a cold corpse somehow freeze-dried by a sudden cold mist or chewed by the beast. But you appeared in a parking lot and bit an apple and complained that we had not been. Disappointment all around, but I stroked your hand.
Last Cat Poem
She is still alive, but just suppose she wasn't. Just say she met an untimely demise, but met it headlong and bravely, heroically scratching at death and yowling like three demons in the only battle that matters, until her great heart exploded and her whole marvelous catness settled into a final purr of peace. I'd still remember the time she shit the bed.
I almost heard the poing of nipples sprung
When she slipped off her jacket and begot
Her polished manikin, hip hip to waist
To shoulder neck, to jaw her cranium
Peeled back beneath a shave of colored hair
Erectile over eyes in mirror stare
At nothing but a red geranium
Stuck to a window box with god's own paste
To mark the edge of earth, from which we shot
Our little sprout up through the dust and dung