men love funny women.
to really know a man
pull the one liners back
to reveal what he is healing.
and, trust your tears.
i never had my dance card stolen.
i never had a dance card.
my dad drops me off at junior prom
in our high school cafeteria in a
culpeper county cow pasture.
the theme’s an enchanted evening.
my corsage is a lone orchid.
years earlier, dad teaches me
the philadephia swing.
nervous, i miss a beat and
step on his foot.
impatient and pained,
he proclaims i can’t dance.
i will not dance for years.
my new husband, as we wait for old friends,
puts his hand out to me and asks shyly,
“may i have this dance?”
and, he twirls and dips me into eternity.
my corsage is happiness.
“The bar has been closed for some time now, the neon lights serve as a reminder that the place exists and I should come back in the daylight. I don’t think so. I have spent my hours this evening on a bar stool at another bar a few miles away. Seems like the flashing neon is a sign to the dark city that it’s time to wash away the troubles of today as a new morn is approaching..this is good news for me..as…..”
she enters the room. My eyes go up from the run in her hose to the grit in her eyes. I knew that look of hunger, lost pride, hope’s glimmer. There was a she before her who taught me the pain of approaching a flame that blinds such as love at first sight. The memory makes me shiver on the mid-June Casablanca night. I pretend to look at the broken clock above her head and turn away. Remembering.
the lung walls
birthed the breath
of my false i love yous,
now evolve from
baby doll pink to dead indigo.
i say my truth to her.
she tells others.
their weighty words break you.
now, you say no to me.
i don’t like you, when you are late.
i don’t like you, when you fart on me in bed.
i don’t like you, when you try to kiss my lips.
i don’t like you, when you drop things.
i don’t like you, when you snore.
i don’t like you, when you forget errands.
i don’t like you, when you pick your nose.
i don’t like you, when you yell.
i don’t like you, when you curse.
i don’t like you, when you don’t follow my suggestions.
i don’t like you, when you don’t like my poetry.
i don’t like you, when you say good-bye.
i love you.
“I wonder what it’s like to be a big fish in a little pond… One of the last things my mother said to me…We were listening to the song, ‘She’s So High Above Me.” Ever hear it?”
He slowly nods no.
“The chorus goes…like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, and some other grand woman. I sighed and told her I just wanted some guy to think that about me once. She told me that it would happen, ’cause I was already all of those women. She believed, so I believed. She died about a week later. I’m not so sure any more.”
“There are many people who have respect for you.”
“Sometimes, it’s hard for me to remember that. Think I would have better memory if I was a big fish?”
“You’re a beautiful fish.”
you say you want space.
being a sick poet, i give you silence
cajoling your neck back hair into salute.
generally, i promise you nothing.
i paint you to
create physical, intimacy distance.
our physical becomes a matter of physics.
your constant roaming stills
as you focus on your wet, concave belly.
you notice we have no full length mirrors.
tall, you peer at yourself in the bathroom.
you return, pleased.