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.

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