Life in Seconds, with Gaps
Alone in her bed, flipping through photographs. Playful, happy snaps of her wife on a beach, somewhere in the Florida, Keys. She’s paying me to transfer music to the cloud, delete shit off her laptop but I’ve gone in deep, stepping into emails and private messages, reliving each a few seconds at a time. A concert in Maine, a clambake on the 4th of July. I close my eyes to the sweet of it, dozing off. She wakes me by bringing my hair to her face, kissing it gently. I feel the noise of her against my neck, startle when she lets go. Caressing my cheek with her fingers she whispers, “Sorry, hon didn’t mean to wake you.” She backs away. What remains between is a gap, a perfect hole to reach into. At 50, I am done with empty. I want a mouth to feed on ash, bone, the flesh of me. Our eyes lock so I know she understands. I want to kiss as if we are rebuilding a foundation from the dirt up. I want her teeth in my teeth, her blood on my lips. I want to come in her arms, carved up like an alabaster sculpture, resurrected like Christ. I want to fall asleep with her hand on my breast and her heart beating against my spine.
Who am I now, your tongue or a ghost - lingering, in the house of my ex? I too have photographs. No cocked barrel in my mouth. Heavy bones. Our language isn’t pretty. After a while we bleed together. Funny how that works, but when you leave, I can’t recall the color of your eyes. What’s my identity, the name you traced with a finger across the back of my neck? It belongs to me.
My dead ex-husband’s lover tattoos his face on her arm. In my subterranean past I am a broken bottle. I imagine you exploring the south of my body. I try not to imagine the dark, still of his. I reach across to the place you slept for fear of losing,
Before you’re reborn you must kill your demons, forget every word you said, every lie. In front of me is a new blank, space. She doesn’t weep. I am addicted to new beginnings.
I dream of dying, falling into the hole that winter empties
TRIGGER WARNING TO A WOMAN POET
JUST IN, Murder Investigation under way,
at the Santa Monica Library, In
a hunter gather society, fame works like aphrodisiac.
YOU, wear stalker like a skin,
blow me kisses on Instagram. In
return, I block your access, delete pictures of your dick.
“HERE’S JOHNNY” you say like Jack in the Shinning.
You are not the eye
of my storm. I grew up on Bukowski.
from Weezer’s “Beverly Hills” rearranged in order of frequency.
well truth ain’t king come look they’re whack pool big beautiful next little thing girls born preppy always boarding into live beat-down stand by schools might enjoy movie great spaces sense of fashion automobile chance pocket play are never between so why take crap isn’t she friends housemaids didn’t belong you’re no-class nobody from nothing picture fool go clean floors scrub ‘cause something got way screwy should get looked watch it’s piece when those life life stars stars wanna wanna at at me me I’m I’m no no they they will will WANT WANT WANT don’t don’t don’t celebrity celebrity celebrity be be be rolling rolling rolling as as as that’s that’s that’s all all all is is is where where where where that that that that to to to to just just just just like like like like like my my my my my my and and and and and and living living living living living living living the the the the the the the in in in in in in in in in a a a a a a a a a I I I I I I I I I I I I I Beverly Hills Beverly Hills Beverly Hills Beverly Hills Beverly Hills Beverly Hills Beverly Hills Beverly Hills Beverly Hills Beverly Hills Beverly Hills Beverly Hills Beverly Hills Beverly Hills Beverly Hills Beverly Hills Beverly Hills GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME.
RESCUE ME FROM TRUTH
At my door a woman, 3 kids. God is love they
say handing me a Bible. He’s going
to see you through with a book
contract, or a job, Editor at the Times & I’m in love with possibility
America at my feet. Drop Kick. Nothing happens
rent’s overdue, creepy landlord watches me through
the window, in his hand, something sick, I flip
the bird, take a bus to Venice to read poetry, on the
street some kids smoking crack. heard they found a girl
there, in the garbage
On Washington & Del Rey. don’t do drugs anymore,
think I should. It’s the best way to find your Buddha. 5-years past
I fell in love with Jesus. Thought we
had a relationship. He spoke to me in the
shower. Got on my knees and
sang. Next day, there’s a man in Von’s with the same
vibe. Ready to witness, I ask him to dinner, buy groceries at the
corner Deli with a bad check. He shows up late, throws daisies on the
counter, throws me on the couch. A few days later, he remembers
the lasagna. Calls for leftovers. I go outside
for a smoke with my neighbor, enjoy the sound of her, the
rhythm of her mouth, breath, the down & dirty way she laughs. No longer
searching for truth, I find myself in her body, become
holy in her
TAKE THE FREE TURKEY
A new uniform. Hawking sports gear at $9 an hour. My daughter sends an email threatening to out me in public. “There’s no way you can spin this,” she says. No empathy, just a foul mouth rant. Never had to struggle. She is simply one of those who don’t understand, poor. That first week, I barely do anything, A friend shows up Monday & Wednesday. Down to my last dollar, I hide behind the curtains. Try to ignore the cell phone, ringing in my pocket. I write poetry, to feel useful. The world keeps spinning, but I’m out of grant money. I spend most of my time alone. The trickle-down effect of a changed life means using my slow cooker on a cheaper cut of meat but when they tell me to take the bird, I politely decline. It’s free. But what it represents, happy, thanks, family, is something I’m not ready to carry.
When I hide real from my kids,
they weave stories, bits & pieces
here & there with gaps, like
nets stitched with mud, decaying
in rain. You can’t heal wounds
with a Sesame Street Band-Aid.
Land of Misfits:
Family, I feel most alone here.
At 2, my daughter says, “Daddy
go bye-bye with Mimi.” My son
vomits words in the corner,
thick with rage, a calling card,
I’ve yet to understand.
Like Talking to a Wall:
Something unholy binds me
here. There are no angels in
America. “I’m glad you’re alone,”
he says before leaving. In a dream,
lost, mother is the most beautiful
color in the rainbow.
How to Highlight Suffering:
Pain Body Mother - a hollow bullseye
blasted out to the edges. Every nest
abandoned in Spring. My children beg
to switch - to father. A gentle weeping,
broken open at 50. Moss in my bones
where rivers should flow.
The Loss of Memory:
So thirsty, I swallow tears. They enter
like a poem scattering in the wind,
flood like the Mississippi on a day in
December when the damn breaks,
Without warning - My tongue salt & sea.
Water carves a new longing.