Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mammal Ave.

Windowsills black as dog lips. Panes milky as a blind eye. Curtain of dust descends with a flop, causing the fleas to jump. The house dozes, snoring gently. Dig your muzzle into the steaming compost, pull the warm tongue up over your head. Stay as quiet as you can, keep the day from heaving awake. Street lined with sleeping heaps. A crash of garbage cans, claws scratching brick, scampering down the hallway. Toenails tick the asphalt of the driveway. One building twitches, on blinks a light in the basement window, blinks off. A blind flaps and is yanked back down. Buzzing flies lazily lashed by the flick of a hose. A screen door bangs and is immediately latched. The telephone poles relax their shoulders, wires slumping with relief. The birds that once balanced like beads of sweat along the lines are now scattered bones beneath the porch. The sun eventually bores a hole in the clouds, lowers a rope of light, but no one dares to clamp their jaws around it, tiny memories still plagued by memories of the leash.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pravastatin, 3 Refills

A smoke-eyed vixen squeezed into black jeans
Your shoulders covered with inky feathers and petals
Next to you here on the couch, I fold myself carefully
To keep from accidentally brushing against you
The cushion is quicksand, you should stop leaning forward
Candles and Christmas cookies and glass pipes
Scattered on the coffee table
Leaning close to be heard over the ping-pong conversations
You ask how my day was. I realize you're just being polite
Just making conversation, but I find myself babbling on anyways
About waking up at four in the morning
With my tongue swollen up like
A Gila monster tail in my mouth, and a fist squeezing it
My throat pinched and scraped
Swallowing swords, breathing flames
As I shed the dry skin of my sleep, I realized I was having
An allergic reaction to the new medication
Foisted onto me to lower my cholesterol.
I go on and on about my cholesterol,
My tongue, how much I hate my doctor-
Anything to keep from lunging at you, or at least
Palming the pale patch of bare skin
Between your t-shirt and the visible elastic
Of your underpants. You shouldn't listen
To this creaky old man kvetch about his ailments
There is no reason for you to; young, lithe, vibrant,
And genuinely sweet to boot, but you do.
God help us both, you do.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

39 Watt

Hunched in the booth 
In the back of the Waffle House
One strap of his sapphire dress
Slipping from his bony shoulder.
That bored, bottomless stare
Opened up under my boots
And I dropped. Never burnt 
Myself like I did that night
Tripping down the staircase of smoke
A ladder of soap
Both of us screaming along to Creedence
In the parking lot beneath 
The Creamsicle streetlights
Press-ons striking sparks against the asphalt
The brick stacks rose behind us, one for each of us
Twin red horns to prick the clouds
Stuffed buzzard in the backseat
Stolen from the taxidermy place
By the donut shop
Past the tracks

We gave each other shaky Sharpie tattoos
Cartoon skulls with dicks for eyes
Took turns vamping in filmy sunglasses
Him in a bottle cap tiara, me with a KFC bucket crown
Bound to each other by the wrists
With knotted plastic straw handcuffs
Queening it up in front of Plymouth Beef
The boarded-up Dixie Mattress
The chartreuse doors of the Girls Club
The 40 Watt where we played our last meltdown
He snapped a heel. Snapped the other.
Took turns taking huffs
From Colonial bread sacks
Singed the tips of kudzu draped like quilts
Over the concrete retaining wall
Flipped off the pigs soaking through their uniforms,
Their holsters overflowing with Nembutal
Blew kisses at old men eating chips
In sagging lawn chairs
Waiting to heckle the dawn

Wings creaking against the oily sky
Bulbs glowing too dimly to tempt even
The most desperate moths
Filament pulsing feebly
Something flickered in the back of his mouth,
His eyes were damp coals but
Something fluttered in the back of his mouth
A tiny flame
I reached in for it and

We hurled ash in the eyes of the truck stop Gestapo
Barricaded ourselves in the Stuckey’s mens room
Urinals clogged with butts
Cracked his skull against the condom machine
That never worked
I don’t remember how the hell we got out
But I do remember shooting out the lights in the tunnel
With his potato gun, then crashing a go-cart
Stolen from a neighborhood kids
Into a pile of Styrofoam coolers
Your yips and yodels downgraded to a growl,
To a muffled roar, a defiant croak.
By the end of the night your chicken wire veins
Were  showing through your flaking papier-mache skin
My heavy hands dragged across the carpet,
Knuckles thickened into lumps of lead
I kissed the glow-in-the-dark skeleton keychain good night
And passed out on the spiral staircase
You woke up in my t-shirt
Beneath the panther tapestry
Hung to hide the pock-marked Mare Crisium of plaster.
You split those leaden lids to stare at the coffee-stained ceiling
Smiled up at me like a crumpled map
The smoke oozed toward the floor
It was over but you held out an empty hand,
Reaching for more, more.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I flash my broken-glass smile,
flip my newspaper cape across my shoulder.
I slather my scalp with glue to attach
my pubic-hair toupee.
I wear a beard of flies that occasionally
abandon my chin to tickle a ripe carcass.
My loyal companions, they always return,
stuffed and happy.
My ass has fallen off so many times
I’ve taken to lashing it on with baling wire.
The corners of my mouth dribble turpentine,
my nose oozes syrup. My chest is tattooed
with blue lines like a college-ruled notebook.
I wear plastic garbage bags rubber-banded
over my blackened feet. A tiny hand sprouts
from each of my shoulder blades, fluttering
and scrabbling at the air every time I take a drag.
I am your doctor, your patient, your midwife, your stillbirth.
I am your customer, your agent, your supervisor, your supplier.
Your landlord, your boarder, your squatter, your broker. 
I am your client- a pile of damp sacks
stitched and gummed together
in the culvert of Cabbagetown.
I am a tangle of knotted laces, of unnecessary tourniquets.
I am the sweatpants hanging stiffly from the line,
the bamboo windchime chopped from its noose,
the water balloon wobbling inside the bicycle helmet.
My chest is crammed with porcelain organs
that clink together when I shift on the couch.
Pry my torso open, wedge any packages just inside
the screen door. Slide the disconnect notices
through the slot. Hang the take-out fliers
from my flaccid little doorknob. Thumb the buzzer
with all your might then run like hell
as I come crashing down.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Claude Sonata

Claude locked lips with a voluptuous virtuoso,
doing his best to keep from accidentally
sucking her in. She ran her ivory fingers
up and down the bumps of his spine, playing him
like a clarinet. He felt himself stir
and flop. He shifted and stretched.
She kept her mouth clamped over his,
sucking on each and every tooth,
scraping his ribs and slapping his love handles.
Claude’s chest pulled out. His belly bloated.
Great blasts emanated from his ears.
His instrument strained at its skin,
swollen fit to burst. A pipe organ,
a woodwind. She squeezed him
like a bagpipe’s bladder,
honked his testicles like the bulb of a horn.
Claude’s ass bleated the overture
of a symphony of flatulence.
The prodigy stuck a finger in every orifice,
pinched his lips shut, then blew
as hard as she could into the mouthpiece.
The sound of the explosion echoed for miles.
The audience broke into applause.
The soloist took a bow, wiping bits of Claude
from her brow.