90’s

The 90’s were back
Everyone was afraid of the matrix again
And being programmed

I was dating a businessman
He had a whole wall
Of tv’s stacked one on top of another
All playing different news channels
At all hours of the day

I dreamt of static

Me in a tube dress
A sweater with bell arms
And he in some suit
too big for him
And like this
we went to the beach

He shined
In the sunlight
Cool and pore-less
Worried and faulty
Like a stainless steel box
with microfibers
all laced over inside

I smiled
I smiled!
I smiled!

I made him a talker

PackingĀ 

The closet shook me
Like having slipped
Into an enclave

I imagine that instead
Of this white door
Is a chestnut spiral carving
Leading in a dance
Across which I lay my long fingers

Inside, past the ancient wood
Is the memory
Of my every dream
Shining

Instead I am standing
For now
Looking at things
I forgot I owned
And what is it
I say to no one
To own
And no one answers

Waterbed

Holding onto the phone
as I lie on the waterbed
I’m rambling about how I saw
The president walking about
in one falsely lavish hotel from the 80’s
Looking like his old self
Sporting a Hamptons ready outfit
A tuft of chest hair sticking out
Like they preserved him
Except he looks soft; natural
Worst he looks at ease
And for a moment I am suspended
in simulacra
floating through liquid
Maybe he’s a time traveler
I’m a time traveler

It’s late
And I already put the kids to bed
She says
Call me in the morning

*

My friend’s parents
Updated their home
All modern
A hidden away fridge
Minimalist design
Cloud sofa

My parents’ house
is still heavy glass blocks
under brown marble
Fake flowers
Flower sofas
Imitation gold chandelier

There are rubber plants
at the entrance
Make you feel like
The place is about
to have mold growing
under the beige wallpaper
A humidity seems to cover
like taupe plastic sheets
the tv playing
old tapes of us in this house
My parents’ wedding

I’m afraid to knock over
white porcelain cupids
with melting faces

*

In the closet
is still my mother’s
wedding dress
with the puffy sleeves
and the bejeweled turtle neck

Pictures of us
at five. ten. thirteen.
In kitschy frames

I hate these images of us
More comfortable in a museum
of the late century slump

But I’d rather hide here
than in my new paper house
with wobbly, thin furniture
Where the tv blows it away

The first time

She’s lying there
in dark green
In a cherry wood casket
Wearing strong perfume
the mortician picked out
from a plastic bin
and sprayed on her body

I used to cut her hair
Massage her scalp
We talked about
being single
working long hours

She has on
fuchsia colored nail polish
Clashing with the red lipstick
Type of business black heels
that were popular twenty years ago

We went to dinner once
Finally
After two years
of chopping split ends
We tried doing it
in the back seat
But my shirt sleeve
kept getting caught
in the seat belt

You’re the second guy
who couldn’t get it hard for me
on our first time
Are you afraid of me?
She said

Sarah
The fucking cat

Now she’s out here
being looked at
talked to like through a tube

My hands are shaking
They cut her hair short
The wrong kind for her face type

Zero Celsius

I excuse myself from the movie
and rush to the bathroom
to think about how long
it would take to get home
if I left now

Sitting on the toilet seat
I pull out the Marlboros
from the same section
in my purse
where I keep the spare underwear
Six cigarettes left
I smoked twenty in one night
last weekend
Drunk, kept twisting my ankles
Shaking in a dress in zero Celsius
to talk to a hot fire fighter

I’ve looked more romantic with strangers
than with boyfriends
A girl asked to take our picture
Not you.
With the fire fighter
We were kissing like we were in love
Sitting at the only table at the club

I think about the first time
we went to a movie
leaning away from you
disgusted by your little fat hands

I stuff the cigarette pack
into the tampon disposal box
Put lipstick on in front of the mirror
I pout for two minutes
and play with my hair
Who wouldn’t want this?

When I was an Ether

When I was an ether
I had shock punctuating
at key points in my body

This was when you were
learning five languages
Before you were done
cutting your hair
and began pressing thumbs
into naked bodies
for chakra points

Let me draw up
an old shoe string
A loose coil
holding the neck
of a leather seat
I don’t care which
And say
with this tie
around both our wrists
Same place you bit me once
I here thee wed
In sickness and in hell
for battered or for worse

I show you that line
and you laugh snort
You’re dramatic
but I’m melodramatic

You say you could write it better
And then
tell me more about affinities, you say
The ones between people

I like it best
when your fingers
cover mine
so I can look at your hands
You like it
when mine are underneath
Felt but not seen

Thoughts of death
always remind me of you
Not because you could
ever equal some thought
I don’t know the end
or beginning of
But because I can
walk across from one room
in my head
to another
from some starry image
of blackness
to a conversation we once had

When you said
You know when you’re lying
in bed at night
and you think of dying
then you’re paralyzed
You’re in bed;
Frozen

I tell you I know this feeling
Like this right:
Denial is looking down at you
from the ceiling
It’s out to lunch
for ten minutes
It’s so thick
Living in you so long
It could form a whole new person
And you could stare at each other

I tell you now
that this conversation
gives me comfort

You say you miss me
And I know it’s lips talking
that you just put on
You have a Velcro mouth
You go through a tin box
looking for the right press-ons
for the right thing to say

I’m the same
sometimes

We won a limo ride

We won a limo ride
to the strip club
from a juice bar

I signed up to dance
It was a contest
Me
against four other average chicks
and one professional pole dancer
who hurled her sweatshirt off
to reveal a lulu lemon set

As I unbuttoned my pants
to flash a cheek
your copy
of Catcher in the Rye
fell out from my waist line
I always kept it there
like a ready gun
It opened to a page
where you drew a little phone
beside “phony”

We wrote letters
Until we didn’t
I want to hide
in the speck of mascara
on your eyelid, he wrote

So I ran home
to call you
and tell you
it’s never too late

How I smelled
your bandana
that you sent me in the mail
Slept with it
on my pillow

When the professional
pole dancer
was grinding on my boyfriend
who sat listless in the audience
I thought
I could always end up with you

When he spent
the night searching for me
Paid the limo driver
to drive around town
while he looked out the window
combing through the dark for me
I was adding notes
to our book
Pretending
you would read them again