I circle middle age
Like a bonfire – not a drain.
I buy my lovers at a scratch-and-dent sale,
Unique creases pressed into hearts
Like the flaking of a thrifted jacket.
We probe ragged holes in one another’s pockets,
and perhaps ask for discounts.
Finding one that fits, we rejoice in those racks of forgotten colors,
The textures of these softened ur-texts
Broken, broken-in, and irreplaceable.
Dull unblemished perfection smells like plastic packaging and fixatives,
But you have the vanilla smell of an old book.
I circle middle age
You could have been Polish
with your mouth full of Zs
Your voice like a bottle brush
Scrubbing all our throats
As we sat crowded and alone,
Each a sandpaper balloon.
He works his ego through doors
Like Princess Alexandra
Who swallowed a glass piano.
He does his best.
The broken birds all flock to the front seed
Of the Patron Saint of Bus Drivers
Eating grandfatherly love out of his hand.
The beady eye of the vagabond gulls
Can only look on their victims, not themselves.
Still Saint Francis in his squishy hat
Mocks sweetly the feather-plucked flesh
Of the stalkers, the loonies,
And the bitter Christmas sweater women
Who come displaying their disfigured claws.
And prove something to someone.
Sweat fifty times
And forget whose Judas you are.
Sweat a thousand times
And feel the pleasure of an addict.
Sweat twice more
And feel your body rip itself apart.
I engage in recreational empathy.
I have learned to sweat through
The exit wounds of inner beauty.
Thursday grinds against me
With cigarette breath.
Rasping my hip bones.
If she and her two lipsticked cousins
Left me alone for a while,
I would know what I wanted to do.
I am a pesticide.
I didn’t need you to like me
But you needed me.
There was no sugar in my cake.
We went together
Like puberty and the Anarchist cookbook.
But I hardly ever
Read under the covers any more.
Folks that have seen my book know I have a thing for photographing coffee mugs. I have taken a few photos for the sequel, but I don’t know when or if I’ll have enough stuff to make a sequel. So what the heck, I’ll show them off here from time to time. I had a great time taking these with my friend and model Skinenbonz yesterday.
The third time
I saw wild birds at arm’s reach
I think it was
A heterosexual cardinal couple
Done quick enough
Not to be rude or slimy.
But slow enough
To convey a sense of trust
That the world around them
Would not step on them.
When they saw me and left for their tree
I stared after them, believing
Surely something must be wrong.